Communities to rally for slain transgender woman

Paige Clay. Photo: Courtesy Brian Turner.

A social worker at Taskforce Prevention and Community Services, is organizing a community event to call for answers in the murder of Paige Clay, a transgender woman who was killed on the city’s West Side on Monday morning.

Brian Turner, the organizer, said the motivation for this event is also due to the dissatisfaction over the police investigation.

“My main reason for doing this is because it seems like it is in the process of being swept under the mat,” he said.

Clay, who was 23, was found with a gunshot wound to her forehead early Monday morning in an alley behind the 4500 block of West Jackson Boulevard. Area North detectives are investigation the case and no suspects are in custody. Initial information obtained from police and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office could not confirm her gender identity.

Turner, who runs a program for transgender women called Women of Many Voices of which Clay was a member, has taken it upon himself to be a voice for the now silenced Clay.

This silence is also coming from investigators and Cook County officials, according to Turner. He 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.”

Turner knows what it is like to be a “ward of the state” and was one himself until his grandmother took him in, he said. Clay never had that advantage of a loving mother father home, but that she did have a community and a life, he explained.

Clay was well known in the ball community and held down several part-time jobs in the area.

“She was a human being just like anyone else and she was trying to do better,” Turner said.

The event, Justice for Paige, will be held at Taskforce, located at 9 N. Cicero Ave. Tuesday, May 1 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. More details will be updated on posted on that page.

The event is intended to bring the community together to share useful information about the murder. The event is also meant to heal the community wounded by this event.

“[We want to] do what we can do to bring this person into custody and do what we can do as a community to get us back on track,” Turner said. “Comfort one another and ensure that this does not happen to another trans girl.”

Turner is calling for the police investigating to release what leads they have and to really become involved with the community.

Chicago Phoenix will update as more information becomes available.