A funeral service was held today for Courtney “Eshay” Key, a transgender woman who was shot and killed in East Chatham on Christmas Day.

Family and friends gathered at a church in south suburban Dolton for a memorial honoring Key’s life.

Around 8:35 pm. Christmas Day night, police found Key’s body on the south side of 82nd Street near Drexel Avenue. At first, Key was believed to be the victim of a hit-and-run crash. But police later found she had suffered gunshot wounds. She was pronounced dead at the scene.


Police listed her as a male John Doe, but her family has said she was misgendered, and believe she was the victim of a hate crime.

“I believe Eshay was targeted,” lifelong friend Beverly Ross said earlier this week. “We need to get to the bottom of this because Black trans lives matter. We are not going anywhere.”

Key, 25, was described by family and friends as the life of the party – hilarious and determined.

“She wanted to be something,” Ross said. “She wanted to beat the odds.”

Family and friends also have a problem with how Key has been described elsewhere.

“We are human. We are real,” Ross said. “We’re tired of Chicago police misgendering trans people; gender non-conforming people.”

A trans woman, Key has been identified as both a man and a John Doe.

“They’re dehumanizing our character,” Ross said.

We asked Chicago Police earlier this week about that and we were told, again, the victim is listed as a male. We were also told Area Two detectives are still investigating the homicide. Police have not yet made any arrests.

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