Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-06-08



Remembering Courtney Eshay Key
Trans Omnibus Project
by Henry Roach

This article shared 823 times since Wed Dec 8, 2021
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Courtney Eshay Key, 25, was a loyal and outspoken friend. She loved to make jokes, wear colorful wigs and invite friends to cook for her. In late 2020, she confided to a friend at a party that she was ready to set new goals for her life.

Then, on Christmas 2020, Key was shot and killed in the street around the corner from her mother's house, where she had spent the holiday, according to the Chicago Tribune. Her death was ruled a homicide, but police identified no suspects. Key's friends and family believe the murder may have been a hate crime.

"Nobody ever expected it to happen," Nathaniel Porter, Key's best friend, said. "It was devastating."

Porter said Key loved to spend most of her time with family and friends. She would visit her nieces, nephews and cousins at her mother's house, which was close to where Key lived. Key's family supported her and accepted she was trans, according to a Chicago Sun Times interview with Brave Space Alliance Director LaSaia Wade.

Key also spent a lot of time with her "Kors Family" on the South Side, a group of closely-knit LGBTQ+ friends who called each other family. The Kors family was a "foundation" for Key, Porter said.

"She was the Chicago mother for the Kors Family for a while," Porter said. She was always welcoming and comforting to other group members.

Key was also a giver and extremely loyal, Porter added.Porter recalled Key letting him stay at her place when he was struggling with employment and other issues. Key's apartment was in a convenient location for Porter to travel downtown for interviews.

She was high-energy, bright and spirited. "Any time you came around her, she would just want to laugh and have fun or put a smile on your face," Porter said.

Beverly Ross, a lifelong friend, emphasized Key's sense of humor: "She loved, loved to joke."

Ross knew Key from childhood, since Ross's aunt lived in a neighborhood in the Woodlawn area near Key. "As a child I used to come over and visit my aunt. And Courtney, 'Eshay,' was basically their baby of the Black neighborhood," Ross said.

Those around Key knew she identified as a queer person, Ross said, adding that Key was navigating life as "a young person that was very open about who they are at a young age."

Ross, who was older than Key, said she was honored and happy to be around at the time Key was growing up.

"Courtney was just another teen adult growing up in the city of Chicago, trying to navigate life and what that looks like," Ross said.

One of the last times Ross saw Key was at a friend's birthday party, where Key was helping out. Key told Ross that she was ready to "elevate her life." She wanted to look for a job and start escorting. She wanted to spend more time with Ross's close-knit circle of friends, which was a "different type of environment" than Key was around at the time. She wanted to return to school and pursue gender-affirming surgery.

"We were ready to help her. We were ready to pull her in the right directions," Ross said.

Porter also witnessed Key's desire to set new goals for herself.

"She was progressing. We were still in our building stages in life," Porter said. "She was on a path of growing. She wanted more. She wanted to learn how to do makeup. She just wanted to be an adult. She wanted to learn the ins and outs of the world."

Though Key was close to her friends and family, she was careful around strangers, Porter said. She was aware of the dangers she faced as a trans woman in Chicago, so she didn't hang out with strangers or in random spaces.

"She was a short girl. She doesn't bother anybody. She's always minding her business. She's . . . made sure that she's always been in a safe space," Porter said.

Porter said that to have little to no information about the murder 11 months after it occurred is devastating. "She was my sister as well as a best friend, so for me not to know anything still to this day, it breaks my heart," he said.

When she wasn't with her family or friends, Key would be home, watching movies or singing along to Beyonce, Porter said. Her favorite Beyonce album was "Four." Key also loved soul food, especially baked macaroni and candy yams. She wasn't a great cook, so she loved to invite friends to cook for her.

Key was also "upfront," Porter said. People never had to question where they stood with her, because if Key had a problem, she would address it directly without animosity. She was outspoken about her feelings.

Porter's favorite memory of Key is when he and Key went downtown a few summers ago to enjoy the weather and go shopping.

"She looked very good. She had her hair done, she had her nails done and everything. She had a little makeup on," Porter said.

Key bought shoes from the Gucci store and posed for a picture Porter took near a fountain. The two were in their "true element," Porter said. "Just me and her, enjoying each other's company."

Since Key's death, Porter has spoken to numerous news publications about her life.

"I've tried to represent her in the best way that I could. . . . She was one of the coolest, most loving, most beautiful, most loyal, most energetic, caring [people]—just all-around an amazing person," Porter said.

He added, "She was honestly one of my best friends. And I don't think I'll ever meet anybody like her, or ever encounter anybody on this earth like her. Just a true, beautiful person inside and out."

See the Trans Omnibus Project introduction page for links to other stories in this series: .

This article shared 823 times since Wed Dec 8, 2021
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

Rugby league bans trans women from international competition
Rugby has banned transgender players from women's international competition until further notice, following global swimming's decision to restrict trans athletes' participation at the elite level, Reuters reported. The International Rugby ...

Gay News

Supreme Court justice says marriage-equality ruling should be reconsidered
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas argued in a concurring opinion regarding the revocation of the constitutional right to abortion that the U.S. Supreme Court "should reconsider" its past rulings codifying rights to contraception access, same-sex ...

Gay News

Abortion decision called 'full scale assault' on rights
In a ruling that one legal activist said will put LGBT rights "on the chopping block," the U.S. Supreme Court today (June 24) ruled 6 to 3 that the U.S. Constitution "does not prohibit" states from ...

Gay News

BREAKING U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade
On June 24, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, ruling there is no longer a federal constitutional right to an abortion. The decision means that states will determine abortion rights, which may prompt many women to go ...

Gay News

North Carolina to issue accurate birth certificates for transgender people without requiring surgery
-- From a press release - (Greensboro, NC — June 23, 2022) — Transgender people born in North Carolina will now be able to correct the gender marker on their birth certificates without the need for surgery under a consent judgment issued ...

Gay News

Gov. Pritzker expands state license plate options to include Chicago Sky, Red Stars and Fire
-- From a press release - CHICAGO — Governor JB Pritzker signed HB4434 into law today, expanding the options of professional sports team license plates Illinoisans can choose from at the Secretary of State. The change, which adds the Chicago Fire, the ...

Gay News

Illinois' Kwame Raoul joins VP Harris, other attorneys general to discuss reproductive rights
-- From a press release - Washington — Attorney General Kwame Raoul joined Vice President Kamala Harris as well as Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford, Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul and California Chief Deputy Attorney General Venus Johnson for a roundtable discussion ...

Gay News

Supreme Court strikes down N.Y. gun law; LGBTQ+ groups react
On June 23, the U.S. Supreme Court eased restrictions on carrying firearms in public, continuing a trend by the court in recent years of weakening gun restrictions, according to Yahoo! News. The court's conservative majority ruled ...

Gay News

Human Rights Campaign celebrates 50-year Anniversary of Title IX
-- From a press release - WASHINGTON — The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) issued a press release recognizing the 50-year anniversary of Title IX. HRC Interim President Joni Madison said in a statement: "Title IX has had a transformative impact on our ...

Gay News

HRC report: Wage for LGBTQ+ women is 79 cents to the average man's dollar
-- From a press release - WASHINGTON - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, released new data outlining ...

Gay News

Gloria Allen screening/gathering to take place June 23
A film screening/community gathering to honor the late trans icon Gloria Allen (also known as Mama Gloria) will take place Thursday, June 23, 6-8 p.m., at the South Side Community Art Center, 3831 S. Michigan Ave. ...

Gay News

Clela Rorex, first County Clerk to issue same-sex marriage licences, has died
-- From a press release - BOULDER, CO - Out Boulder County and the family of Clela Rorex are saddened to announce the death of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer pioneering ally, Clela Rorex. On March 27,1975 Clela issued the first ...

Gay News

Governing body restricts trans swimmers; HRC responds
On June 19, swimming's world governing body, FINA, voted to restrict the participation of transgender athletes in women's events and will look into creating an "open competition" category, Yahoo! News reported. FINA members voted 71.5% in ...

Gay News

TELEVISION 'Rutherford Falls' returns for season two with double the diversity
Peacock's hit comedy Rutherford Falls is back with season two. (It started June 16.) The story follows two lifelong friends—Nathan Rutherford (Ed Helms) and Reagan Wells (Jana Schmieding)—as they navigate ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Sec. of state; Palm Center; judicial nominees; Detroit bar
Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a roundtable with six LGBTQI reporters at the State Department, according to The Washington Blade. It was the first time a secretary of state sat down with a group of ...


Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.