Friends seeking answers after transgender woman’s murder

CHICAGO -- Members of Chicago’s transgender community held a vigil on the West Side Monday night for one of their own who was found murdered Sunday.

As vigils go, it was a small one, held near the corner of Kenton and Monroe in Garfield Park. It’s an area of the West Side known for crime, gangs, and high-risk activity. Just feet away, the body of a transgender woman known as TT was found with her throat cut Sunday night. Police say the murder weapon was found nearby.

Police identify TT as male, but friends say she was a fully-transitioned transgender woman, and they want to make sure she’s remembered that way. They don’t believe her killing was a hate crime, but rather that she was another casualty of life in one of Chicago’s high-crime neighborhoods.

Friend Jaliyah Armstrong said TT  was about 26 years old, and she hopes anyone with information passes it along to police.

“We need answers,” Armstrong said.

There wasn’t any family at the vigil in the traditional sense, but some people said although they’d only known TT for a matter of months, she felt like family.

“She loved everybody. She brightened up everybody’s day, everybody loved her. That’s why I don’t understand who could have killed her,” said friend Gladys Carter.

Friends did say she’d been threatened two days earlier by another trans woman armed with a knife, and they believe that woman made good on her threat. But even as police made regular patrols around the scene of the crime, they worried that the life of someone like TT doesn’t carry the importance they’d like it to.

“It’s like, for a transgender or transsexual, they really don’t care about us. They don’t care,” Armstrong said.