Mourners Gather to Honor Trans Activist Elise Malary Whose Body Was Found in Lake Michigan

A crowd of mourners gathered at a vigil in Chicago on March 20 to honor transgender advocate Elise Malary, whose body was found in Lake Michigan last week.

Dozens gathered to lit candles outside the Women & Children First bookstore and wrote messages on its wall to remember Malary.

Back in 2019, explicit transphobic stickers were placed on the windows and doors of the bookstore, prompting Malary to lead a rally for equality.

Malary, 31, was a founding member of Chicago Collective Therapy, an organization that seeks to alleviate LGBTQ+ health disparities.

Malary also worked with the AIDS Foundation of Chicago and Equality Illinois and served alongside Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul.

“Elise was a valued member of our Civil Rights Bureau who, as a tireless advocate for the LGBTQ community, was passionate about her work. Her kindness and infectious smile will be missed by those who worked with her,” Raoul said on Twitter.

Malary’s body was recovered from Lake Michigan on March 17, according to the Evanston Police Department, days after her family reported her missing.

Police said they are continuing the investigation on Malary’s death.

Investigators said they did not suspect foul play.


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