Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-07-19
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Passages: Michael "Makayla" Gwinn, transgender youth
by Kate Sosin, Windy City Times
2013-02-25

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Makayla/ Michael Gwinn, a young transgender person whose life work was in mentoring fellow LGBTQ youth among other things died Feb. 16. Gwinn was 23.

An active performer, makeup artist and LGBTQ youth advocate, Gwinn loved life and worked to give back to Chicago's LGBT community, said friends. Gwinn, who identified as transgender, used the names Michael, Mikayla and Jaiden as well as both male and female pronouns (a choice that is reflected in this article).

"He loved life," said DaMina Ross, Gwinn's foster parent. "He was multi-talented. He was smart, witty, infectious personality, and he was loyal."

Gwinn was active in a number of LGBT initiatives. She facilitated workshops and discussions at Lawrence Hall Youth Services, where she formerly lived.

Kevin Pleasant, a mentor and friend to Gwinn, said Gwinn was dependable and committed to work with youth.

"He was youth advocating especially for LGBT youth," Pleasant said. "He just wanted equality for LGBT youth. He wanted them to have the same opportunities as non-LGBT youth."

Gwinn was also very involved in National Youth Pride Services (NYPS).

Frank Walker, founder of NYPS, said he was shocked to hear of Gwinn's passing.

According to Ross, Gwinn was found dead outside a residence in Ravenswood on Chicago's North Side, after a possible drug overdose.

Walker and Ross said Gwinn's life had not been easy or simple.

Gwinn was born in Waukegan and later moved to Chicago. At age nine, she entered the foster care system. When Ross met her, Gwinn was living as female in a group home with men. Ross later filed the paperwork to become Gwinn's foster parent.

Despite challenges, Gwinn succeeded both academically and professionally. She graduated from St. Gregory the Great High School and pursued an associate's degree in applied marketing from Harold Washington College. He later earned his certification as a makeup artist after attending London Eyes International Academy of Makeup. He was working as a makeup instructor at the time of his death.

Gwinn also performed at local clubs and was a member of the ball house, House of Evisu.

"I personally like how, even though all these worlds were against her, she made her way to be what she wanted," said Walker.

Ross said Gwinn had a close and supportive chosen family. He is also survived by biological siblings.

Ross remembered Gwinn as funny, charismatic, loyal and courageous.

Gwinn's passing marks the eighth death of an NYPS youth in less than a year, a stunningly high number. The deaths are believed to be unrelated, but the unusually high rate among Black LGBTQ youth in Chicago is sparking fears among advocates and youth alike.

Gwinn was friends with Paige Clay, a transgender woman whose murder last Spring garnered national attention.

Walker said that in its first nine years of operating, NYPS saw just two deaths in the organization. In the last few months alone, he has seen eight. Walker cannot make sense of those losses. NYPS has started keeping track of the number of Black gay youth who die in the U.S. They receive notice of one death a week.

"The majority of them are people we know from Chicago," Walker said. "I think eventually the mainstream media is going to have to start noticing that a lot of Black LGBT youth are dying."

Services for Gwinn are scheduled for Saturday, March 2 at Destiny Worship Center, 5510 W. Chicago Ave. A wake will be held from 12-1 p.m. The funeral will follow at 1 p.m. Donations to cover the cost of services can be made through Brooks Memorial Chapel at 773-699-3323.


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

PASSAGES Flavio J. Acosta 2017-07-19 - Flavio Acosta was born in Bogota, Colombia on Jan. 16, 1931, the son of Rafael and Etelvina Acosta. He passed away Sunday, May ...


Gay News

GLSEN responds as Sec. of Education stonewalls on policy on LGBTQ students 2017-07-19 - ( New York, NY ) - July 18, 2017 - In a July 11 letter to Senator Patty Murray ( D-WA ), Sec. ...


Gay News

United State of Women holds Chicago summit 2017-07-19 - More than 1,000 women from all walks of life convened at McCormick Place to kick off the United State of Women Galvanize Program ...


Gay News

New sitcom stars transgender actors 2017-07-19 - The Switch is a new sitcom starring five transgender actors in trans roles—making it the first of its kind in television history. The ...


Gay News

BOOK Raising the Transgender Child 2017-07-19 - By Dr. Michele Angello and Alisa Bowman, $17; Seal Press; 275 pages Your preschooler has always had an active imagination. Flights ...


Gay News

Public funeral set for 'True Blood' actor 2017-07-19 - A public funeral for Nelsan Ellis—who played gay character Lafayette on the HBO show True Blood—will be held Saturday, July 22, at Holy ...


Gay News

Singapore Voids Marriage of Trans Woman And Her Wife 2017-07-18 - As The Straits Times has reported on July 18th, the Registry of Marriages ( "the Registry" ) has voided the marriage of a ...


Gay News

Palm Center counters claims made to Armed Services Committee on transgender service 2017-07-18 - SAN FRANCISCO, CA — The Palm Center responded to General Selva's testimony today before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Aaron Belkin, director of ...


Gay News

Renslow memorial set 2017-07-16 - A public memorial to remember the life of businessman Chuck Renslow, founder of International Mr. Leather, will be held Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017 ...


Gay News

Baker McKenzie Implements Gender Transition and Identity Guidelines 2017-07-13 - Chicago, IL, USA, July 12, 2017 — Baker McKenzie has announced the implementation of its North America Gender Transition and Identity Guidelines, joining ...


 



Copyright © 2017 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.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.