GULFPORT, Miss (AP) — LGBTQ advocates say the recent fatal shooting of a 27-year-old Black transgender woman along Mississippi’s Gulf Coast reflects a disturbing pattern of violence against an already marginalized group.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, Shawmaynè Giselle Marie’s death on June 21 is at least the 18th violent killing of a transgender or gender-nonconforming person this year in the U.S.
“The violence we face is one of the devastating results of ongoing stigma and discrimination,” said Tori Cooper, director of community engagement for the Human Rights Campaign’s Transgender Justice Initiative. “We deserve to live our lives fully without discrimination or violence.”
Marie was shot at the Emerald Pines Apartments in Gulfport, Mississippi and died at the scene. Police arrested Makhari Seven Gasaway, 20, of Gulfport, for the killing. Marie’s sister, who was also shot, was taken to an area hospital for treatment, according to the Sun Herald.
Police said the shooting occurred after Marie and Gasaway argued, and Gasaway pulled a gun and started shooting.
There has been an increased threat of gun violence for transgender people of color, gun safety groups said.
“Her death is yet another reminder of the disproportionate impact of gun violence on Black transgender women,” said Tracy Sexton, a volunteer with the Mississippi chapter of Moms Demand Action, a gun safety group.
Moms Demand Action referenced data from Everytown for Gun Safety, an organization with which it partners to promote gun reform. Since January 2017, there have been 191 killings of transgender individuals in America, with 73% of those slayings committed with a gun, according to Everytown. The organization also said that 73% of those gun homicides of transgender people were of Black trans women.