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Isabel Torres, Trans Advocate & Veneno Actress, Dies At Age 52

Isabel Torres, Trans Advocate & Veneno Actress, Dies At Age 52

isabel torres

The star passed away after a battle with lung cancer.

Three months after she said an emotional goodbye to her fans via social media, Veneno star Isabel Torres has sadly passed away.

"Today, February 11, 2022, we say goodbye to Isabel," a statement posted on Torres' Instagram said, translated from Spanish. "Although her family and friends feel her loss deeply, we know that wherever she goes, she will have fun as only she knows how. Thank you for all the messages of affection and concern. She has left feeling very loved and supported."

Torres, who is Spanish, had long been known as a trans pioneer in her native Gran Canaria. In 1996, she became the first Canarian woman to have her gender legally changed on her ID, and she often spoke out about LGBTQ+ rights and issues in her country.

She became an international star when she played an older version of Spanish TV celebrity Cristina Ortiz, also known as La Veneno in the HBO Max limited series Veneno. Torres said playing the icon was "the role of a lifetime" and that it helped her to see a new side of herself.

"I think in it there was a lot of me, and in her there was a lot of all of us," she told The Advocate. "I never thought we would have a lot of similarities, and at the end, after seeing the character, learning her story, and learning to love her through her wounds, I understood that we share a lot in common."

Back in November, Torres said her emotional goodbyes to her fans and friends in a video she posted to Instagram. "They give me two months to live," she said of her lung cancer diagnosis. "Let's see if I get over it, and if not, what are we going to do? Life is like that."

Torres will be sorely missed, not just in her home country, but around the world. She's inspired trans people to be their best selves and to always live their truth. She's shown others that a happy life is possible for people like her.

There's a scene early on in Veneno when a young Valeria Vegas, the trans journalist who wrote the book that the series is based on, sees La Veneno on TV, and her life is changed. It's the moment she realizes that trans women exist.

That's the legacy that Torres leaves. When trans people watch Veneno and they see her, they'll know they can be who they truly are and be happy. Isabel Torres will never truly be gone, because her impact will always be felt. And she'll continue to help others come out and love themselves for decades to come.

More than that, she'll be remembered as a trailblazer in both trans rights and acting in Spain and Europe. Other trans actors will get chances they never would have gotten because of her.

The importance of seeing older trans people be visible and happy cannot be overstated. For many of us, we can't see a future for ourselves. We think that we're destined to either be trapped in a life that isn't authentic, or else die an early death. Women like Isabel Torres showed what it looks like to live as a trans woman in your fifties. She showed that a long and happy life is possible.

Goodbye Isabel, and thank you for everything.

You can watch Veneno on HBO Max in Spanish or English.

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