Whispering Wind Bear Spirit, an Indigenous non-binary person, is the 23rd known trans/gender-diverse person to have been killed in the US this year after they were shot in York, Pennsylvania on May 3. According to Advocate, Bear Spirit, who described themselves as “Shawnee by birth and Potawatomi by relations”, was shot during a break-in and robbery attempt while staying with a friend.
Charges have been filed against 19-year-old Oscar Cook, but police have said there are at least two other known suspects. Their death is being investigated as a homicide but police have not yet released further details. Bear Spirit was killed only one day before Sophie Vasquez, 36, and Danny Henson, 31, who were both trans women of colour.
Following Bear Spirit’s death, Tori Cooper, the Human Rights Campaign’s director of community engagement for the Transgender Justice Initiative, said: “We continue to receive reports of transgender and non-binary people who have been killed in the last few weeks. This violence is heartbreaking and unacceptable. Our hearts go out to everyone in Whispering Wind Bear Spirit’s community.”
She concluded: “Everyone must speak up in support of trans and non-binary lives and take action to help bring this violence to an end.”