She returned to São Paulo in 1984 and bought a house in the Bixiga neighbourhood at rua Major Diogo, 779, which she decorated in gold and white, inside and out. Her car was also done in the same colours. She turned the building into a Casa de Apoio to care for those with HIV who were rejected by their relatives, as many were after a series of murders of travesties in the South Zone of Sao Paulo in 1985.
It started with three patients and in 1988 an agreement was signed with the São Paulo Ministry of Health, and in 1992 was legally incorporated. She worked with the Emilio Ribas Hospital which took those who needed hospitalization. Brenda also had a car repair business and a hairdressers in the building.
In 1987 she was featured in Pierre-Alain Meier’s documentary about São Paulo trans women.
In 1996 she was brutally murdered and her body found in an abandoned VW van, after she went to sort out a cheque that had been altered after she signed it. She was given a full Catholic funeral with representation from the Cardinal-Archbishop.
A Brazilian award for defending human rights was named the Brenda Lee Award.
* Not the Country singer.
- Moira Ashford. “Escaping Manhood”. New Internationalist. 175, September 1987. www.newint.org/issue175/queer.htm.
- Pierre-Alain Meier & Matthias Kalin (dir). Douleur D’Amour. With Brenda Lee and others. Brazil/Switzerland 59 mins 1987.
- Frederick L. Whitam “Culturally Universal Aspects of Male Homosexual Transvestites and Transsexuals”. In Bonnie Bullough, Vern Bullough & James Elias (eds). Gender Blending. Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books. 1997:199.
- “Brenda Lee“. Wikipédia, a enciclopédia livre. pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brenda_Lee.
- Confissões agridoces [de uma sereia trans]. 09 Janeiro 2009. aquariodasereia.blogspot.com/2009/01/biografias-trans-da-cplp-brenda-lee.html.
- Rita Colaço. “Trans in Memorian: Brenda Lee, O anjo de guarda des Travestis”. Astra Rio: Associacao des Travestis e Transexuais do estado do RJ. 22 Janeiro 2010. associacaodastravestisetransexuaisrj.blogspot.com/2010/01/trans-in-memorian-brenda-lee-o-anjo-da.html.