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South Dakota Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action Respond to Shooting of Acey D. Morrison, a 30-year-old Two-Spirit Person, in Rapid City

September 21, 2022

The South Dakota chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement in response to the death of Acey D. Morrison, a 30-year-old Two-Spirit person, who was shot and killed in Rapid City, South Dakota in late August. 

According to the Human Rights Campaign, “Two-Spirit is a term used by indigenous North Americans to describe individuals who possess both a feminine and a masculine spirit, and who sometimes occupy a role separate from men or women within their communities.”

“Our hearts go out to Acey’s loved ones right now— a joyous and loving soul that was taken from us far too soon.” said Emily Thomas, a volunteer with the South Dakota chapter of Moms Demand Action. “There is a gun violence epidemic plaguing our nation, and Acey’s death is yet another painful reminder of the impact of this violence on the transgender and gender non-conforming community. In South Dakota and across the nation at large, we must urge our lawmakers to pass life-saving gun safety legislation, as transphobia and racism is far more deadly when a gun is involved.” 

Acey’s death is at least the 30th fatal shooting of a transgender or gender non-conforming person in 2022 in the United States and Puerto Rico. It’s likely there have been more deaths that have gone unreported or victims who have been misgendered

2021 was the deadliest year on record for trans and gender non-conforming people in the U.S., and transgender women of color were disproportionately impacted by the violence. Below are trends from 2017 to 2021 that researchers fear will continue in 2022: 

  • There was an 93% increase in incidents of tracked transgender homicides from 2017 to 2021 (from 29 incidents in 2017 to 56 incidents in 2021). 
  • Guns are the most frequently used weapon in the murder of trans people. Nearly three-fourths of trans people killed in America were killed with a gun. This violence is not evenly spread throughout the US. 
  • Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, and Hispanic women are victims of homicide at the highest rates. 73% of gun homicides of transgender and gender-nonconforming people were of Black trans women.

Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund has tracked homicides of transgender and gender non-conforming people in the U.S. since 2017. In addition to breaking down gun violence to the state- and county-level, the platform includes a database of known trans or gender non-conforming homicide victims in the United States.

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