Chicago’s LGBTQ+ Community Loses a Beloved Ally


Ted Eytan

Chicago’s LGBTQ+ community loses a beautiful activist.

Gianna Iadevaia, Reporter

Elise Malary, 31, was a cherished activist for Chicago’s LGBTQ+ community. Malary was last heard of on March 9th, and her family began to ask the public for help in tracking her down more than a week after her sudden disappearance. After a week-long community effort to find her after her disappearance, Malary was found dead in Lake Michigan on March 19th, 2022.

Malary was a founding member of the Chicago Therapy Collective (CTC), which targeted issues surrounding LGBTQ+ youth, education, and therapy. The CTC website also hosts several articles detailing the urgent call to employ trans-identified job candidates, the presentation of the Trans Art Is display, sound therapy and other therapeutic tips. Malary, as a black trans women, understood firsthand the struggles that those who identified as transgender go through.

“The only thing we can do is shed tears and cry and to be vulnerable and to heal our own wounds from the light that was taken away from us,” said her close friend Angelina Nordstrom, according to Fox 32 Chicago.

According to the HRC (Human Rights Campaign), 2022 has already seen at least six transgender people fatally shot or killed by other violent means. The words ‘at least’ are terrifying because of their cruel uncertainty, with most other deaths concerning LGBTQ+ youth going unreported.

Lindsay Doyle, one of Malary’s colleagues at the CTC, stated, “The lives of Black trans women are deeply disproportionately impacted by violence. We would have no LGBTQ movement without the labor and sacrifices of Black trans women.”

Malary was known for her meticulous and loving personality, along with her amazing activism for the black transwomen of Chicago. Her efforts of standing up for transgender rights and fighting against racism will never be erased from the path that she laid out for LGBTQ+ youth to be successful.