Activists have organised vigils across Britain after transgender teenager Brianna Ghey was found dead in a park in Warrington last Saturday afternoon. Police have charged two 15-year-olds with murder.
Police initially dismissed that the 16-year-old’s stabbing was a hate crime. But Cheshire police has now said it’s not ruling out the possibility that it was a transphobic hate crime.
School children and local residents have been leaving bouquets of flowers at the Culcheth Linear Park’s entrance where Brianna was found.
In Liverpool, up to 1,000 people gathered in front of St George’s Hall for a candlelit vigil on Tuesday. Mourners came dressed in blue, white and pink—the trans flag colours—and the hall was lit up in the same colours. They held placards reading, “Protect trans youth,” and, “Your policies of hate are killing our trans youth.”
Eddy from Liverpool Trans pride told Socialist Worker, “Within the media we’ve been seeing horrible reporting—people misgendering and using her dead-name and even after her death.
“The culture right now is becoming more transphobic because of the attacks we’re seeing from the government. The Tories are trying to stir people against each other by creating further transphobia.
“More trans people will be attacked, and we could see more people murdered. We can’t continue to let this happen, we have to be clear that we support trans people’s rights.”
In Bristol, around 1,000 people turned out at College Green to remember Brianna. Signs read, “Protect trans children,” “She was only sixteen,” and, “We’re all in this together”.
Activists have criticised the Home Office for classifying Brianna as a boy on her death certificate. Trans people under age 18 are unable to acquire a Gender Recognition Certificate or legally change gender.
The Trans Safety Network charity said, “Brianna Ghey’s death was a tragedy and we are saddened that it is necessary to discuss her death certificate at all. Trans people deserve dignity and respect in life and death.
“This includes the guarantee that their death certificate does not disregard their identity. It is disappointing that the government continues to fail trans people, including Brianna.”
Mourners are right to point to rampant attacks against trans people as a cause for Brianna’s death. The Tories’ war against trans and non-binary people has real and deadly consequences.
From blocking gender reforms passed in Scotland to refusing to reform legislation in England, the Tories are targeting trans people. And their false narrative that trans rights threaten women’s rights only serves to divide people.
A young, angry and radical trans rights movement erupted onto the streets after the Tories blocked Scotland’s Gender Recognition Reform Bill in Scotland last month. We need more militant mobilisations to beat back the attacks.
When and where are the vigils?
Wednesday 15 February
Brighton: 6.30pm, Victoria Gardens
Cambridge: 7pm, Parker’s Place
Guildford: 7pm, outside Zero/ Friary
Hastings: 7pm, Goat Ledge
Keele: 5pm, University of Keele/ Forest of Light
London: 6pm, Department of Education
Lancaster: 6.30pm, Dalton Square
Lowestoft: 7pm, East Point Pavilion
Manchester: 7pm, Sackville Gardens
Shrewsbury: 7pm, The Square
Woking: 7pm, The Pride Hub
Thursday 16 February
Cardiff: 7pm, Tree of Life, Gorsedd Gardens
Chatham: 6pm, Nucleus Arts, Chatham High Street
Glasgow: 7pm, George Square
Sheffield: 8pm, Peace Gardens
South-end-on-Sea: 6pm, Prittlewell Square Gardens
Friday 17 February
Birmingham: 6.30pm, outside the Hippodrome Theatre
Edinburgh: 12 noon, Bristo Square
Nottingham: 7pm, Brian Clough statue
York: 6pm, St Helen’s Square
Saturday 18 February
Aberdeen: 5pm, Marischal College, Broad Street
Leeds: 3pm, Park Square
London: 3pm, Soho Square
Newcastle: 6pm, Times Square
Reading: 7pm, Forbury Gardens
Sunday 19 February
Oxford: 6pm, Radcliff Square
Plymouth: 5pm, New George Street