Remembering Miss Courtney Eshay Key

March 3, 2021

By Bailey Williams

Courtney Eshay Key, age 25, was shot and killed Christmas Day, 2020. Courtney, a Black trans woman, is survived by her mother, brother, and sister, who loved her dearly.

“I know for a fact that Courtney just wanted to thrive,” said longtime friend Beverly Ross. “She just wanted to beat the odds and become something. When we talk about beating the odds, we’re talking about a girl from the projects becoming something and defining herself.”

Born and raised on Chicago’s South Side, Courtney attended Chicago Public Schools (CPS)’s Fiske Elementary School and graduated from Hyde Park High School. Beverly remembers Courtney as being hilarious. They often would have friendly roasts and share jokes on Facebook. Years later, friends remember that humor and outgoing spirit.

Courtney loved wearing colorful hair, playing Spades and eating soul food prepared by her chosen grandfather. She also loved getting her nails done and listening to trap music. 

Most recently, Courtney just desired love and respect, Beverladded. She wanted to receive the same love she put out into the world. She was a sweetheart who just wanted to flourish, Beverly said.

Rest in power, Courtney.

Funeral services for Courtney were held, Friday, Jan. 1 and Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021 at Higgins Family Funeral Home and Resurrection House Baptist Church. To honor her life, consider making a donation to Black and Trans-led Brave Space Alliance whose work directly supports Black, Brown and Indigenous transgender and gender nonbinary lives.


Categorized under Chicago, Inside Story and Tribute.

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