Film about murdered January Lapuz shown on Sept. 21 and 28

January Lapuz, 26, was stabbed to death at her home in New Westminster, B.C., in September 2012. (Facebook)

Surrey, B.C.

My Name Was January is a memorial of January’s life and light- Director

By Ted Alcuitas

Award-winning indie doc My Name Was January is being screened on September 21 and 28 at Surrey’s City Centre Library.

The film by Lenée Son and Elina Gress is the story of Filipinx January Marie Lapuz who was brutally murdered in her own home in New Westminster on September 2012.

The 26-year old Lapuz was one of three sex workers to be killed in New Westminster in the space of a year.

3 victims

Lapuz was stabbed numerous times in her home on Sept. 30, 2012, after she got into a fight with a man over the price of a sexual encounter.

Charles Jameson Neel later pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to eight years in prison.

Eleven months after Lapuz’s death, Jill Lyons, 45, was found dead in her apartment building in New Westminster.

Thirteen days later, the body of Karen Nabors, 48, was found in her unit in the same complex. Sarbjit Bains was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 18 years for both homicides.

The film-makers hope the film will not only bring justice to January, but to all the women who have lost their lives.

Two separate ticket registrations have been created on Event Brite for the two screenings.

Saturday, September 21, 2019…

Saturday, September 28, 2019…

Please make sure you get a ticket for the screening you want to attend.

The double screening and panel discussion of My Name Was January is sponsored by Surrey Libraries,  Sher Vancouver , Government of Canada , Government of British Columbia and Mustang Justice.

Meanwhile, the New Westminster council is considering a proposal to create a memorial to pay tribute to January Lapuz and other vulnerable women killed in the city.

Alex Sangha, who produced the  documentary about Lapuz’s life and death, even recommended wording for the inscription in his letter to the city.

“Our beautiful January was a transgender Filipina woman who lived at this residence prior to her tragic passing,” he wrote.


January Marie Lapuz

Youth Leadership AWARD

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 LGBTQ community whether locally, nationally, and/or internationally.

January was the social Coordinator of Sher Vancouver, the first transgender person to hold an executive position within the organization.

Sher Vancouver is a non-profit society for LGBTQ South Asians and their friends, families and allies.

Sher Vancouver hopes to reduce the alienation, depression and suicidal ideation of people dealing with sexuality, gender and coming-out issues. Everyone is welcome to join regardless of ethnicity, religous belief or sexuality.


Her name was January. She was loved by her friends and family. She was fearless and compassionate. When I interviewed people who knew her, they described her as a “bright light” whose energy and personality radiated in a crowded room. At just 26 years old, she was lost too soon. I wanted to tell January’s story because I was saddened to learn of the loss of another transgender woman at the hands of gender violence. Trans women are being murdered at an unprecedented rate. For racialized trans girls living in poverty like January, transphobic violence is also inherently connected to race, gender, and class. As an immigrant from the Philippines, a sex worker, and trans girl, January navigated through these multiple structures of oppression.

My Name Was January is a memorial of January’s life and light. It is a call for justice for January and for all our sisters who have lost their lives to transmisogyny. It is a refusal to lo another sister to under violence.


I didn’t know January and I never heard about her murder. This made me cringe. Why was January murdered? Why did I not hear of this? Why was her murder not covered as strongly as other news items? These are all concerns I had when Lenée and I were approached to do this film. This is why I am doing this.

January was a person; a human being. Her life was just as valuable as yours and mine. The purpose of this film is not to generate fame or profit, but to educate our population about transgender rights and lives. There is no ‘script’. Just real people.

This film is a platform for trans* women of colour to share their voices in a safe environment. The lives of trans women of colour are important and that’s something I want to make clear in this film. This is for January.

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