Afterlives: The Layleen Polanco Story

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Category: Documentary

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Episodes: 10


The life and legacy of Layleen Xtravaganza Cubilette-Polanco is at the heart of Afterlives, a podcast about trans lives we’ve lost and the ways their stories have reshaped our world. Known to light up a room, Layleen was an Afro-Latina trans woman in New York City who was sentenced to the city’s notorious jail complex on Rikers Island. She died there in 2019, at the young age of 27.


Hosted by Raquel Willis and inspired by her award-winning work on Out magazine’s Trans Obituaries Project, this 7-episode series celebrates Layleen’s vibrant life through memories from her family of origin and the community she discovered in New York’s famed ballroom scene. The series unpacks the systems that failed Layleen leading up to her death at Rikers through in-depth interviews with activists fighting against the criminalization of sex work, solitary confinement, and the epidemic of anti-trans violence.


Afterlives is the story of Layleen’s life, and the fight that continues in her name today.

Episode Date
Bonus: The History of the Stroll & Stories from a Trans Elder
Jan 17, 2024
Bonus: The Legacy of Xtravaganza & Trans Lives on Screen
Jan 10, 2024
Episode 7: Trans Futures
Dec 27, 2023
Episode 6: A Rallying Cry
Dec 20, 2023
Episode 5: Not Resting In Peace
Dec 13, 2023
Episode 4: 41 Minutes
Dec 06, 2023
Episode 3: All That Is On Rikers
Nov 29, 2023
Episode 2: To Survive
Nov 22, 2023
Episode 1: Layleen
Nov 15, 2023
Introducing: Afterlives: The Layleen Polanco Story
Nov 08, 2023