Transgender woman found fatally shot in West Garfield Park

Stock Crime SceneA transgender woman was found fatally shot in the head in the West Garfield Park neighborhood Monday morning on the city’s West Side.

Paige Clay, 23, was found in an alley in the 4500 block of West Jackson Boulevard with a gunshot wound to the forehead.

Initial information from police left questions about Clay’s gender identity unanswered.

June LaTrobe, the public policy director at Illinois Gender Advocates and the Trans Community Liaison at Center on Halsted, was able to confirm the victim’s name and gender identity as Clay, a 23-year-old male-to-female transgender woman.

Chicago Police News Affairs officer Veejay Zala could not confirm Clay’s gender identity to Chicago Phoenix and referred to them as a “male” Monday.

On Tuesday, The Cook County Medical Examiner’s office went on to name the victim as 23-year-old Marvin Clay, who they described as a black male. The Medical Examiner’s office could not say if Clay was transgender and questions remain about what practices authorities have in place to determine the gender identity of victimes.

A Facebook event page has been started titled “JUSTICE FOR PAIGE“, which asks anyone with information about her death to notify authorities and activists at the TaskForce.

Community leaders, including Modesto Tico Valle, CEO at Center on Halsted say they are saddened and disturbed by the news.

“Though we do not have all the details, this news is extremely disturbing, especially as severe violence against transgender women is all too common,” Valle said in a statement Tuesday. “Transgender women face some of the highest rates of violence and abuse in our nation. This is the third reported murder of a transgender woman in the U.S. in April alone.”

The community must work together to create safety in for all people, especially those most targeted, Valle said.

Center on Halsted is a founding member of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP). Their most recent report indicated that of the murders identified as hate crimes against LGBTQ people and those impacted by HIV in 2010, 44% were against transgender women, according to the release.

Nobody was in custody late Wednesday, said police. Area North detectives are investigating. 

Brynn Cassie West contributed reporting.