Ash Brar (left) and Alex Sangha (right) with January Marie Lapuz.

Surrey film tackles transgender issues

Documentary January - We Matter aims to raise awareness.

In September 2012, January Marie Lapuz, a transgender women of colour, was stabbed to death in her New Westminster home.

Through the documentary film January-We Matter, those closest to her hope to raise more awareness of transgender issues.

Sher Vancouver, a social, cultural support group for LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender and Questioning) South Asians, is producing the film. Lapuz was the first transgender person to hold an executive position with the organization.

“January was the social glue of our organization and we want to focus the film on her life, not her death,” said Surrey’s Alex Sangha, Sher Vancouver’s founder and a producer on the film.

“We want to shine a light on the various systems of oppression that trans-women of colour are faced with daily.”

Sangha notes that transgender individuals are often in precarious employment situations and Lapuz was once fired for being a trans-woman. Sangha hopes the film will help highlight those issues and give trans-women an avenue to discuss them.

“The large aim of the film is that we want trans-women of colour to have a voice,” said Sangha.

“We have actual trans-women speaking in the trailer. We want to tell their story, and we want to honour January’s life and legacy.”

Lenee Son and Elina Gress, sociology and journalism students at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey, directed the film.

January-We Matter is scheduled for release in 2016.

For more information about the film, and to watch the trailer, visit


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