Rest In Peace Brianna Ghey
Trans rights are human rights.
On the 11th of February 2023, Brianna Ghey, a 16-year-old trans girl, was stabbed to death in a park in Cheshire, England. Her family describes her as "a much-loved daughter, granddaughter and baby sister." Her two assailants, aged 15, have been charged with murder. The LGBTQ+ community has been left reeling in the wake of the devastating news of her death. On the 15th of February, a wake was held in Brianna's memory outside of the Department of Education in London, England. There was speaking, chanting and a minute of silence for Brianna's memory in which everybody in attendance held up lighters, torches and phones. It was a truly solemn experience filled with peace, but also anger at how trans rights have been regarded in the UK.
Ongoing is the 'Culture War,' which is a battle of beliefs and values. The British Press constantly use trans rights as cannon fodder in this war, using terms such as "trans hysteria" to portray the trans community as either crazy or a threat to society. This causes people to either disregard or act angrily in response to trans people and their rights. In addition, many morning talk shows use trans people as a topic of discussion and debate, often without a trans representative to partake. The fact that a trans person would even be required to go on TV and debate their own existence further degrades them as a minority. On top of this, the UK government have actively made moves to block the progression of trans rights and their legal protection. For example, in January 2023, the Scottish Government made a ground-breaking move to allow trans people to self-identify and simplify the process of changing one's legal gender. However, this was vetoed by the UK government in Parliament, stating that it would have an "adverse impact" on equality protections across Great Britain.
All of these chilling factors combine to create a general society that, at best, ignores the existence of trans people or, at worst, responds to them with violence. The climate with regard to trans rights in both the UK press and Government has undoubtedly trickled down into the general population, which has led to the untimely death of a child by two other children. On this, author and journalist Shon Faye said that "children don't become violent in a vacuum ... this tory-led government and its vile education policy has refused repeatedly to protect trans youth, to implement trans inclusion guidelines and to teach about gender." This has to stop. This girl did not get the chance to grow up and live her life purely because she is trans. Her family are grieving a hole in their life that will never be repaired purely because Brianna Ghey is trans. The vigil for Brianna Ghey was a solemn experience and should absolutely not have been necessary. As it was said during the gathering, "this is what community looks like." As a queer community and its allies, we need to come together to stand in the face of bigotry, hatred, and the removal of our rights. What more needs to happen for this to become apparent? There is no LGB without the T, and we all need to stand up for each other, now more than ever.
Rest in Power, Brianna.