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Human Rights Campaign cites killing of trans woman in Gulfport, MS in push for gun reform

Gulfport Sun Herald logo Gulfport Sun Herald 7/1/2022 Margaret Baker, The Sun Herald

Jul. 1—GULFPORT, Miss. — The Gulfport shooting death of transgender woman, Shawmaynè Giselle Marie, has prompted local advocates pushing for more effective gun safety measures in Mississippi to speak out.

"At only 27, Shawmaynè had so much life to live," Tracy Sexton, a volunteer with the Mississippi chapter of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action campaignk said in a statement. The grassroots organizations advocate for more effective gun safety measures across the country.

"Her life was tragically and senselessly cut short because of gun violence. Our hearts are with Shawmaynè's loved ones during this deeply difficult time. Her death is yet another reminder of (the) disproportionate impact of gun violence on Black transgender women. We must act, and we must act now to demand more effective gun safety laws in Mississippi."

Shawmayne died in a June 21 shooting in a home at Emerald Pines Apartments in Gulfport. Her sister, 14, was also shot and injured.

Gulfport police officers arrested Makhari Seven Gasaway, 20, on charges of first-degree murder and aggravated assault in the shooting.

Police said the shooting occurred following an argument.

Shawmayne' is the 18th transgender woman or gender non-conforming person to die in the United States in 2022, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

"Shawmaynè was a kind, beautiful young person who, like any person, deserved to live a full life," said Tori Cooper, director of community engagement for the Human Rights Campaign's Transgender Justice Initiative. The campaign is an advocacy group for the LGBT+ community.

"Her life was cut short by gun violence. These tragedies happen all too often to Black and brown transgender women in communities across the country. The violence we face is one of the devastating results of ongoing stigma and discrimination. All of us must step up to end that stigma. We are people. We have friends and family, passions, hopes and dreams, just like anyone else. And we deserve to live our lives fully without discrimination or violence."

Moms Demand Action partners with the grassroots organization, Everytown for Gun Safety, to promote gun reform across the country.

Since 2017, 191 transgender people have been killed in the United States, and 73% of those deaths involved gun violence, according to statistics from Everytown for Gun Safety.

(c)2022 The Sun Herald (Biloxi, Miss.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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