Answers Wanted After 2 Black Transgender Women Found Dead in Chicago Area – NBC Chicago

Concern has grown in the Chicago area after two black transgender women were found dead in recent weeks.

The body of Elise Malary, a 31-year-old prominent LGBTQ+ community activist from Evanston, was found in Lake Michigan on March 17, six days after a family member reported her missing.

The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office is conducting an investigation to determine the manner and cause of Malary’s death.

In the East Chatham neighborhood of Chicago, family members recently held a vigil for Tatiana LaBelle, whose body was found March 18 in an alley dumpster.

Jae Rice of Brave Space Alliance, the first black-run, trans-run LGBTQ+ center on the South Side of Chicago, said the deaths highlight the issues facing the community.

“Black trans people face a lot of intra-community violence,” Rice said. “We’re dealing with violence from people saying they love us, from people saying they care about us, and quite frankly, we’re dealing with an epidemic when it comes to black trans deaths.”

Groups that support the transgender community say the deaths of LaBelle and Malary are part of a rise in deaths involving the black trans community nationwide.

According to the National Black Justice Coalition, 2021 has been the deadliest year on record for black transgender women in the United States

Victoria Kirby with the coalition said the recent deaths are part of an outbreak that must be tackled by a declaration of a state of emergency in the Chicago area.

“Something happens when, within weeks of each other, you find a woman who was murdered and left in a dumpster, and another woman who was found in Lake Michigan,” Kirby said.

NBC Chicago

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