With the Murder of Marquiisha Lawrence 2021 Becomes Deadliest Year for Trans People

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Wednesday November 10, 2021

Marquiisha Lawrence
Marquiisha Lawrence  (Source:Marquiisha Lawrence/Facebook)

The murder of Marquiisha Lawrence has brought the year's toll of anti-trans deadly violence to a record-breaking high of 45 known deaths, the Human Rights Campaign reported.

"Lawrence, a 28-year-old Black transgender woman.... was fatally shot in Greenville, South Carolina, on Nov. 4," the HRC said in a news release.

Saying that Lawrence "will forever be remembered by her infectious smile and her heart of gold," Eboni Sinclaire (described by the HRC as Lawrences' trans mother) declared that "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," Sinclaire added. "She was a very humbled, free thinker who was loved by many."

"HRC has now officially recorded more violent deaths of transgender and gender non-conforming people than any year prior," the statement noted. "Previously, the highest number of fatal deaths of transgender or gender non-conforming people that HRC Foundation has tracked over a 12 month period was just last year in 2020, when at least 44 transgender or gender non-conforming people were killed."

The true numbers of the epidemic of deadly transphobic violence are likely higher, due to misgendering and misreporting, the HRC said.

Lawrence's death followed only days after that of drag performer Rikkey Outumuro, also known as Tru Starlet, "a 39-year-old Latina transgender woman who was fatally shot in Centralia, WA. on the night of October 30 or the morning of October 31, 2021," the HRC documented.

"These victims, like all of us, are loving partners, parents, family members, friends and community members," the HRC said at the page where it tracks deadly violence targeting trans and gender-nonconforming people. "They worked, went to school and attended houses of worship."

"They were real people — people who did not deserve to have their lives taken from them."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.