Black transgender woman Marquiisha Lawrence, 28, was shot to death on November 4 in Greenville, South Carolina.
She is one of at least 45 trans, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming people known to have died by violence in the U.S. this year, which surpasses the record set last year of 44 deaths. Much more undoubtedly go unreported or misreported.
Lawrence was found dead in her home by family members. It seems she had been in an altercation with one or more people, according to the coroner’s office. The office declared Lawrence's death a homicide.
The Greenville County sheriff’s office is investigating.
“Marquiisha ‘Quii’ Lawrence, like so many who have gone before her, fell victim to a senseless murder. Quii was a young trans woman, at the beginning of this game called life, as WE know it in the trans community,” Eboni Sinclaire, Lawrence’s trans mother, said, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
Sinclaire said that Lawrence was a free thinker who was loved by many.
“She will forever be remembered by her infectious smile and her heart of gold. Her favorite thing to do was to cook because she felt it filled the belly and fed the heart,” Sinclaire said. “One of our last conversations she said to me, ‘I've not always been the best I could be, but thank you for caring enough to still be here for me.'"
Sinclaire told the organization that Lawrence may have been killed for “accepting who she was and living her truth.”
In a statement, Tori Cooper, HRC’s director of community engagement for the transgender justice initiative pointed to the tragic record broken with Lawrence’s death.
“With 45 recorded deaths, we’ve reached yet another tragic milestone this year. Marquiisha was clearly loved by so many. She deserved to live, but her life was stolen from us far too soon,” Cooper said. “We must commit to honoring trans lives and ending the horrific epidemic of violence that plagues our community. Marquiisha deserved nothing less than our full commitment to building a better future for trans people.”
In South Carolina, transgender and gender non-confirming people are not necessarily protected against discrimination in many cases, and the state doesn’t have a hate crimes prevention law.