Freya Harrod explains the tragic loss of Brianna Ghey, and asks what this means for trans rights.

Vigils have been held across the country, such as in Dublin, Belfast and Manchester, and thousands of people have gathered in central London to pay respects to the death of 16-year-old Brianna Ghey. Brianna was a young girl who now has no future due to the brutal actions of anti-trans fascists who believed it was their right to take her life. Brianna was just a schoolgirl, an irreplaceable daughter, granddaughter and sister. This is a loss not just for the country and LGBTQ+ community, but for a family who will forever have to live without her the rest of their lives.

Brianna’s life was taken by two 15-year-olds in a village park, and though police originally declared the murder to not be hate-related, this atrocity comes as one of many for trans people across the nation, symptomatic of a much vaster and entrenched issue with trans brutality and hate-crimes.

Although investigators claim there was no evidence to suggest Brianna’s trans identity was a factor in her murder, the connection seems obvious to those who know the legacy of abuse and terror that the trans community has been subjected to. Even at the vigils mourning Brianna’s death, anti-LGBT protestors have been viewed hurling slurs and derogatory transphobic language at those in grief. It is ignorant, naïve, and ultimately disrespectful to not perceive Brianna’s horrible death as microcosmic of the wider culture of persecution which trans people live under the foot of in the UK. Trans individuals have been statistically proven to be at a much greater risk for these vicious attacks; they are twice as likely to be victimised by crime than cisgender individuals, and in 2020, research found that one in four trans individuals have been a victim of crime.

Over time, acceptance for the trans community has gradually increased, however the volume of crime against trans individuals has failed to abate. Instead, they are left in constant danger and fear, as the act of existing has made them a lifelong target of vicious crime.

So, what message does the premature death of Brianna Ghey send to the trans community?

Certainly, the overwhelming national response at vigils and on social media sends out a powerful message of support, showing how thousands care for and support trans individuals in the face of the fascist terror that motivated this event. Yet the response, and the murder itself, also reaffirm the fear so many trans individuals live with already. The idea that at any age, on any day, and at any time, they could be victimized to brutality. Even facing the death of a young schoolgirl, we have witnessed waves of anti-trans hatred. The Times, for instance, published an article which deadnamed Brianna, which they then rushed to change following backlash against the transphobic editorial decision.

People reveal their true nature in the face of tragedy, and this reality is no less applicable to this horrible death. It seems that the battle for trans rights will be one that must be fought for a long time yet, but this murder can only assure the LGBTQ+ and wider national community of one thing – that we must continue fighting.

Rest in Pride Brianna Ghey.

Edited by: Zoe Powell (News & Politics Editor)

Designed by: Sarim Mangi (Head of Design)


Comments are closed.