The Chicago Police Department reports no arrests, suspects or leads in the investigation into the brutal killing of Paige Clay, a 23-year-old transgender woman whose body was found exactly one week ago. Clay's body was found on the city's West Side with a gunshot wound to the forehead, reports CBS 2.
Brian Turner, who runs a program for transgender women called Women of Many Voices ... said he has contacted numerous officials and investigators and has not been contacted in return. Turner was also turned away from identifying Clay’s body because he was not considered immediate family. Turner describes Clay as an adopted member of his family via his aunt, Denise Turner, who was a foster mother to Clay.
"Why should it matter if I’m not immediate family if my aunt was her foster mother? This is the woman that raised her, who took her into her own home," he said. Cook County has given Turner 90 days to wait to see if any biological family makes a claim, something he finds frustrating and confusing. "She has people who love her who were not her immediate family, but they were family."
Clay walked Runway in the ball scene, and despite her inexperience, friends say she was fast making a name for herself. In part, they say, it was her ingenuity. Clay crafted her outfits with little money, borrowing when necessary, but always creating something unique. "In the ball scene, there wasn't anyone with that kind of passion," said Marlo Moss, a friend of Clay's. Clay traveled from state-to-state and won several competitions.
Clay had come into her own in the past few years. She came out as transgender, became emancipated from the state and moved out into her own apartment, a great point of pride for her. She held jobs at McDonald's, Wendy's and Forever 21 clothing store, among other places.
But she also faced challenges. Like many young trans women of color, Clay was subjected to violence and discrimination, friends say. In addition to working in the service industry, Clay was occasionally involved in sex work, said [friends], noting that she had been subject to violence before.
Activists are planning are planning a "Justice for Paige" rally on Tuesday May 1.
Paige Clay becomes at least the third trans woman killed nationwide in April. Detroit police are also searching for the killer(s) of 35-year-old Coko Williams, who was found slain earlier this month.
Numerous studies have shown that Black and Latina trans women are at the greatest risk of violence and the murders of Black trans women are often unsolved. Black transgender women face "extreme discrimination and poverty", and are more than likely to suffer from violence, physical or sexual abuse, police brutality, HIV/AIDS and bullying, according to a first of its kind survey conducted by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Black Justice Coalition.