Nikki Araguz Loyd, a transgender advocate from Texas, died Wednesday, November 6, in her home in Humble, the Houston Chronicle reports. She was 44. Her cause of death has not been determined.
Loyd was a longtime activist in Texas. Her advocacy came to our attention here at POZ when she was named to our annual POZ 100 list, which celebrates HIV advocates nationwide.
Each year our list spotlights different groups within the HIV community, such as long-term survivors, youth and women. This year, we spotlighted transgender, gender-nonconforming and nonbinary advocates.
Here is our description of Loyd’s advocacy from our POZ 100 list:
Nikki has been publicly advocating for HIV awareness and prevention since 1993, coming out as an openly HIV-positive transgender woman on talk shows such as The Maury Povich Show, Sally Jesse Raphael and The Jerry Springer Show as well as 20/20 and Inside Edition.
She has promoted HIV testing, distributed condoms, worked at food banks and answered the hotline at AIDS Foundation Houston. After her husband’s death, she waged a public legal battle for benefits as a firefighter’s spouse. She has since remarried and is a mother of two children.
These days, Nikki can be seen on her YouTube channel in the original docuseries Nikki’s American Dream. She plans to release her autobiography next year.
As we at POZ celebrate trans advocates, on this Transgender Day of Remembrance, held each year on November 20, we also want to honor those who are no longer with us, including Loyd.
Watch video from her memorial, which took place Wednesday, November 13:
Click here to visit a GoFundMe page for her funeral expenses.
Click here to read more about the Transgender Day of Remembrance.