Lamia Beard, 30, was close with her family, and proudly proclaimed that she had the best singing voice around her hometown of Norfolk, Va.
"When we were in high school, Lamia was in the chorus," her older sister, Kiara Parker, told Alternet. "People would pay Lamia to sing at funerals and weddings."
The "high-spirited, joke-cracking" trans woman of color had a particular fondness for songs by Beyoncé. She spoke fluent French and was an avid reader, according to Alternet. She played the piccolo, oboe, and flute. She majored in music education at Norfolk State University, but left after her sophomore year.
“Lamia was very simple,” Parker told Alternet. “She just wanted to get her life together. Being transgender, it was very hard for Lamia and it affected her. She would get discouraged about applying for different jobs. It came to a point and time when Lamia just wanted people to accept her for who she was and to find a job so she could live on her own."
Parker and the rest of Beard's family were stunned when they learned that Beard had been fatally shot in the early morning hours of January 17. And they were "mortified" when local media reports misgendered their sister, and included irrelevant details about decades-old arrests when reporting on her death.
"What Lamia did 5, 10, 15 years ago has nothing to do with this case," said Parker. "In fact, if it had anything to do with it, they should have put that in the article. It didn’t have anything to do with her being shot and murdered."
"She didn’t carry herself as the type of lady they portrayed her as in that news article,” Beard's younger sister, Kendall Beard, told Alternet. "I didn’t like it."
Although Beard often spoke of the anti-trans discrimination she encountered when seeking employment or updating her identification, the woman's immediate family — her mother, father, two sisters, and brother — all supported her wholeheartedly.
"Lamia used to brag to friends that she had a family who accepted her because a lot of people in the LGBT community did not have their own family to accept them," Parker told Alternet.
Illustration by Cristy C. Road