NCAVP mourns the death of Courtney “Eshay” Key, a 25-year-old Black transgender woman in Chicago, IL

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NCAVP mourns the death of Courtney “Eshay” Key, a 25-year-old Black transgender woman in Chicago, IL, who was fatally shot in the late hours of December 25. Friends and family of Courtney believe the death was a hate violence.

Friends and family of Courtney have only discussed her loss with one news outlet, stating that she was “the life of the party – hilarious and determined.” Her lifelong friend Beverly Ross called out the Chicago Police Department for deadnaming and misgendering Courtney, stating ““We are human. We are real … we’re tired of Chicago police misgendering trans people.” “She wanted to be something … she wanted to beat the odds,” says Beverly.

Brave Space Alliance, a Black-led, trans-led LGBTQ Community Center has also spoken out on the death of Courtney, commenting on the insulting and demeaning nature of deadnaming and misgendering trans folk: “We become disposable because there’s a lot of us [who] are in need of help. [We] think you’re telling us we’re worthless, that we’re not worthy of living life, because of the way we’re misgendered. This is a continual thing.” The org is also helping Courtney’s family with funeral costs.

NCAVP stands in solidarity with Black trans women, and we know that it is always hard to read these reports of violence against our communities. We know this can be even more painful when there continues to be an unchecked epidemic of homicides of Black trans women, as police violence is escalating against Black and brown people, and our nation continues to be grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic that highlights long standing healthcare disparities for Black and brown communities. If you need support in these difficult times, you can always reach out to your local NCAVP member. If you or someone you know is experiencing violence, you can reach our free bilingual national hotline at 212-714-1141 or report online for support.

NCAVP works to prevent, respond to, and end all forms of violence against and within lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) and HIV-affected communities. NCAVP is a national coalition of local member programs and affiliate organizations who create systemic and social change. NCAVP is a program of the New York City Anti-Violence Project.