It’s been less than a week since the killing of Brianna Ghey. The 16-year-old trans girl died last Saturday after being stabbed in a park in her hometown of Warrington. Two 15-year-olds have been arrested and charged with her murder.
There are reports that Brianna was “bullied for years” because of her gender identity. However, Chesire constabulary initially released a statement describing the attack as “targeted”, with “no evidence” to suggest it was hate related. They later made a U-turn, with a spokesperson adding that: “All lines of inquiry are being explored, including whether this was a hate crime.” The days following the killing also saw some national media outlets and publications misgendering Brianna.
In a statement, the family said: “Brianna was a much loved daughter, granddaughter, and baby sister. She was a larger than life character who would leave a lasting impression on all that met her. Brianna was beautiful, witty and hilarious. Brianna was strong, fearless and one of a kind.”
They continued, “The loss of her young life has left a massive hole in our family, and we know that the teachers and her friends who were involved in her life will feel the same.”
Labour MP for Warrington North Charlotte Nichols told Huck, “Following the murder of Brianna Ghey, which has absolutely rocked our very close-knit community, it’s been heartening to see vigils around the UK to remember the life of Brianna and showing solidarity with our community, and the trans community. All of us must keep Brianna’s loved ones and the justice they deserve at the front of our minds, while not forgetting the wider context this crime happened in and what we can all do to ensure we protect trans lives.”
The stabbing comes in the context of a deepening hysteria around trans rights in the UK. Despite making up just 0.5 percent of the population, there has been a stark increase in articles about trans people, and the alleged risks they pose, in the last few years.
In reaction to Brianna’s death, vigils have been organised across the UK and Ireland. In Manchester on Wednesday up to 2,000 people gathered in the city’s Sackville Gardens. In London (pictured) thousands gathered outside the Department of Education at a vigil organised by Trans Action Block. Organisers and members of the public spoke of the deepening hysteria around trans rights in the UK, media complicity, and the desperate need for change. Chants of “Fuck Assimilation, Trans Liberation” and moments of silence were held in memory of a teenage girl whose life was cut senselessly short.
The statement from Brianna’s family can be read in full below:
“Brianna was a much loved daughter, granddaughter, and baby sister. She was a larger than life character who would leave a lasting impression on all that met her. Brianna was beautiful, witty and hilarious. Brianna was strong, fearless and one of a kind.
The loss of her young life has left a massive hole in our family, and we know that the teachers and her friends who were involved in her life will feel the same. We would like to thank everyone for their kind words and support during this extremely difficult time. We would like to thank the police for their support, and witnesses for helping with the investigation.
“The continuation of respect for privacy is greatly appreciated.”
A fundraiser for Brianna’s family has been created and has currently raised almost £100,000.
More vigils are organised in towns and cities across the UK and Ireland in the coming days.