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Body found on West Side identified as gender-variant youth
by Kate Sosin, Windy City Times

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A young person found deceased in an abandoned building on the city's West Side has been identified by community members as a gender-variant young person.

Donta Gooden, who also went by "Tiffany," 19, was found murdered on Tuesday night, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office. Gooden suffered multiple stab wounds and incised wounds. The death has been ruled a homicide.

Brian Turner, an outreach coordinator at Taskforce Prevention and Community Services on the West Side, confirmed that Gooden had visited Taskforce but said he had not worked directly with Gooden. It remains uncertain if Gooden identified as transgender or used a female name and pronouns exclusively, he said.

Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Michael Sullivan told Windy City Times that police responded to a call of a foul odor at 11:15 p.m. Tuesday night on the 4800 Block of West Jackson Boulevard. Police found the body of a female on the second floor of the abandoned building, Sullivan said.

According to transgender activist Joy Morris, Gooden's friends reported that Gooden went missing over the weekend and was last seen Friday or Saturday night.

Gooden was found just three blocks from the site of another transgender murder earlier this year. Paige Clay, a rising luminary in Chicago's ball scene was found on the 4500 Block of West Jackson Boulevard in April.

Turner, who organized remembrances for Clay, noted the close proximity of the two incidents.

"We still have not received any information on what's going on," he said, noting that Clay's murder remains unsolved. Turner said he plans to organize an event for Gooden, the details of which have yet to be announced.

Morris said that Gooden and Clay were friends.

She called on police to investigate both murders, and said that discrimination against transgender people had put them in harm's way.

"It's just so unfortunate," she said. "There are limited resources and job opportunities."

Youth Pride Services, an organization that primarily serves LGBTQ youth of color, responded the news of Gooden's death in a statement from one its youth members.

"It's saddening to see the death of another LGBT youth go in vain," said Brandon CLasberry, 19, in the statement. "Many of today's black LGBT youth are still unaccepted in their communities and resort to desperate measures to manage."

Gooden's mother has made funeral arrangements. A visitation will be held Wednesday, Aug. 22 from 4:00-8:00 p.m. at Smith and Thomas Funeral Home, 5708 W. Madison. A wake will be held Aug. 23 at 10:00 a.m. with a funeral at 10:30 immediately following.

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