Chicago, IL

2 Black Transgender Women Found Dead, Peaceful Rally Turns Chaotic After Activists Clash

Lashaunta Moore

A call for action about the deaths of two Black transgender women in Chicago turned chaotic after activists of another anti-violence organization interrupted the event at Federal Plaza on Monday evening.

Zahara Bassett, transgender activist and founder of Life Is Work, along with other advocates, were pleading for justice about the deaths of Tatiana Whetstone and Elise Malary when they were cut off by members of Ex-Cons for Community and Social Change, including founder Tyrone Muhammad. Chicago Suntimes reported that Whetstone's death was ruled a homicide after her body was found beaten to death in a trashcan in Chatham. Malary, 31, body was found along the lakefront in Evanston; however, the cause of death has not been announced. She was a member of the Chicago Therapy Collective in Andersonville.

Tension rose as Muhammad spoke through a bullhorn, prompting Bassett and the transgender advocates to reschedule. "Our community is dying every day in these streets," Muhammad said. He also mentioned wanting to bring attention to violence among Black Chicagoans.

Bassett responded, "we're all here for the same fight." while highlighting the Rally's mission was to bring awareness to transgender and LGBTQ vulnerabilities.

According to ABC 7 News, in 2021, there were four deaths of transgender women in Chicago, a pattern that put fear in the trans women community. In 2018, a 24-year-old Black transgender woman was shot and killed by a romantic interest, a story similar to thousands around the country. The city has seen an increase in trans death since 2020.

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