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Sher Vancouver releases 10th-anniversary memorial website to honour the legacy of January

Surrey, British Columbia – Sher Vancouver released a special memorial website today to mark the 36th birthday of our late social coordinator, January Marie Lapuz, who was born on April 9, 1986. The year 2022 also marks the 10th anniversary of January’s tragic passing in New Westminster, B.C.

Who was January?

January Marie Lapuz was born on April 9, 1986, in Santiago City, Philippines, and passed away on September 30, 2012, in New Westminster, B.C.

January was the Social Coordinator of Sher Vancouver and was the first transgender person to hold an Executive position within the organization.

She welcomed new members, connected them to information and support services, and helped organize and plan social activities and events.

A singer and dancer, she also performed at Sher events including at Celebrities nightclub in Downtown Vancouver for our popular Bang Bang Bollywood night.

“She was a kind, caring, generous, and loyal friend who helped other transgender women with their gender transition,” states January’s best friend and Sher Vancouver President, Ash Brar.

“January had many challenges and struggles as an immigrant, as a person of colour, and as a transgender woman living in poverty. Nonetheless, she was a bright light and shining star. She had a special ability to get people to put their differences aside and move forward in the best interests of each other and the organization. Not a day goes by that January’s friends don’t miss her,” states Sher Vancouver Founder, Alex Sangha. My Name Was January

Sher Vancouver’s award-winning short documentary, My Name Was January, has been uploaded to the memorial website for everyone to view. The film is 26 minutes long and is a tribute and eulogy to January, as well as provides a platform for other transgender women of colour to share their strengths, struggles, and challenges.


When a trans sister, January Marie Lapuz, is brutally murdered in her own home in New Westminster, BC, her community reacts and her friends and other trans women of colour come to share and voice their issues, concerns, and challenges. January was seen as a bright light in the lives of many. This is the story of January, a friend, a daughter, a person. This film will not only bring justice to January, but to all the women who have lost their lives. January had a beautiful soul, and now part of her soul rests in each and every one of us.

Impact of My Name Was January

My Name Was January won 15 international awards and was an official selection at 66 film festivals in 11 countries around the world.

Most notably, the film was an official selection at the prestigious National Screen Institute Online Short Film Festival in Winnipeg where it is permanently preserved in their film archives.

The documentary was a Finalist at the San Francisco Sex Worker Film and Arts Festival.

In addition, the film picked up Best Short Documentary at the Emerging Lens Cultural Film Festival in Halifax.

My Name Was January qualified to enter the Canadian Screen Awards for Best Short Documentary.

The film was picked up for television broadcast by OUTtv of Vancouver and made available on their streaming site OUTtvGo.

The film was also picked up by Revry of Los Angeles which is the world’s largest queer streaming site.

A Teacher’s Discussion Guide for the film was created and many presentations have been delivered in schools, especially for Transgender Day of Remembrance on November 20.

January Marie Lapuz Youth Leadership Award

You can also apply for the annual January Marie Lapuz Youth Leadership Award on the new memorial website or on the official Sher Vancouver website.

The January Marie Lapuz Youth Leadership Award is an annual award bestowed upon a deserving youth who is 16 to 30 years of age and who has demonstrated involvement, commitment, and leadership in the 2SLGBTQ+ community whether locally, nationally, and/or internationally. 2SLGBTQ+ stands for two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer. The January Marie Lapuz Youth Leadership Award has been given every year since 2015. Any youth anywhere who is 16 to 30 is eligible. You do not have to be 2SLGBTQ+ or South Asian. Sher Vancouver welcomes all youth doing amazing things in the 2SLGBTQ+ community.

Winners will receive a letter of congratulations, a certificate, and a cash prize.

It is notable, that all the top-prize winners from previous years have been BIPOC and/or 2SLGBTQ+, and two of the top prize winners have been transgender people of colour.

January’s Memorial Website

January Marie Lapuz Youth Leadership Award

About Sher Vancouver

Sher Vancouver is a registered charity for LGBTQ+ South Asians and their friends and families. Everyone is welcome.

Support January’s Legacy

To make a donation to Sher Vancouver which funds the January Marie Lapuz Youth Leadership Award and receive an instant tax-deductible receipt go to:


Alex Sangha

Founder of the Sher Vancouver LGBTQ Friends Society

Cell: 604-842-7340

Email: (try first)


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