Oct. 4, 2018 By Tara Law
Ms. Colombia, a colorful and beloved figure in the Jackson Heights LGBT community, has been found dead, Council Member Daniel Dromm has announced.
Ms. Colombia, whose birth name was Osvaldo Gomez, was found dead in the waters off Jacob Riis Park, Dromm’s office said. No foul play is currently suspected, although the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has yet to determine the cause of her death.
Dromm said that he remembered seeing her in many different parades across the city, including at the first Queens Pride Parade.
“She was beloved by all who saw her in the streets, at parades, and in the neighborhood wearing her colorful outfits and a bird on her shoulder,” Dromm said. “Her cheerfulness and ability to bring a smile to the faces of all who met her will be missed by all New Yorkers.”
He continued, “While life did not always treat Ms. Colombia with all the respect she was due, New Yorkers will remember Ms. Colombia as a hero to everyone.”
Ms. Colombia was featured in the docuseries No Your City, which profiled unusual New York City Characters, in 2015.
In the film, she revealed that she was a lawyer and had moved to Queens from Colombia in 1975.
After she was diagnosed with HIV in the 1980s, she decided to live “day by day,” she explained.
“I like to be free… They ask me, are you homo? Are you gay, are you lesbian? And I say, no, I am human being from another planet,” she said in the video.
Ms. Colombia said that she loved New York because she felt free to live the life she wanted.
Dromm said that his office is reaching out to community organizations to plan a vigil for Ms. Colombia, which will be announced soon.