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Two-spirit transgender woman in South Dakota is the second victim of trans murder in 2017

Meka Beresford January 8, 2017

A transgender woman in Sioux Falls has become the second trans murder victim of this year.

28-year-old Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow was found in her home in South Dakota after neighbours reported a “strong odour” coming from her apartment. Officers are investigating her death as homicide.

Jamie Lee Wounded Arrow is a two-spirit woman who was originally from the Pine Ridge reservation and belonged to the Oglala Lakota tribe.

Her death is the second reported transgender homicide of this year, after Mesha Caldwell who was killed in Mississippi earlier this week.

“Based upon the investigation, the victim’s death appears to be a homicide,” Lt. Michael Colwill said in a news release obtained by the Argus Leader.

Sioux Falls Two-Spirit and Allies says they believe Wounded Arrow is the first transgender homicide victim in South Dakota.

The police force in the area have arranged a briefing for Monday in which more details will be released.

Her death has sparked a series of commemorating messages from support groups, friends and family.

The New York City Anti-Violence Project said it was “deeply saddened” by the news of her death.

“Jamie’s homicide is the second homicide of [a] transgender woman of colour in 2017 and we are only seven days into the new year,” said Shelby Chestnut, NYCAVP’s director of community organising and public advocacy.

“Her homicide is especially troubling as it highlights [the] disproportionate impact violence has on trans people of color, especially two-spirit people who are often invisible within LGBTQ communities.

“Now more than ever we must defer to communities most impacted by this deadly violence and follow their leadership to find solutions to this violence,” Chestnut added.

The Sioux Falls Two-Spirit and Allies Facebook also shared words of sympathy.

“Our hearts are broken as we will miss her very much. So again, prayers are needed. Pilamaye,” the post reads.

“We need justice and we will get it,” said Franklin Whiting, Jr., a friend and neighbour of Wounded Arrow.

Reina Parker, youth outreach director for the Center of Equality, a Sioux Falls-based nonprofit that advocates for LGBT rights, hailed the woman for her welcoming nature.

“She is the type of person that when she talks people stop to listen,” Parker said. “The impact she leaves on people after meeting her once is something nobody forgets.”

More: LGBT, murder, south dakota, Trans, Transgender, transphobia, US

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