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Brianna Ghey
Brianna Ghey

Brianna Ghey: a 16-year-old trans girl has been killed in Cheshire

Two 15-year-olds have been arrested on suspicion of murder

Brianna Ghey, a 16-year-old trans girl, was murdered on Saturday (February 11).

She was found by members of the public “lying on a path with stab wounds”, at Culceth Linear Park in Warrington, Cheshire. She was pronounced dead at the scene after emergency services were called shortly after 3pm. A boy and a girl, both aged 15, have been arrested on suspicion of murder. Police are also urging anyone with any information to contact Cheshire constabulary.

Many media outlets have either glossed over or entirely neglected to mention the fact that Brianna was trans. Others have even included Brianna’s deadname in their reporting, including The Daily Express and The Times (thankfully, The Times have now updated their article to remove all references to her deadname). But when transphobia is so widespread and acute in the UK, it is necessary and important to honour and recognise Brianna’s gender identity. As one Twitter user put it: “[The media] write article after article stirring hatred, spreading fear and crafting lies about us, then go out of their way to hide who we are and thus the potential nature of the crime when it gets us killed.” 

Additionally, while a spokesperson for the police has said that at present “there is no evidence to suggest that the circumstances surrounding Brianna’s death are hate related”, they did admit that Brianna had been “targeted” – most likely as a result of her gender identity. “I know [Brianna] had people who weren’t nice to her, there was bullying, she struggled with her mental health,” one of Brianna’s acquaintances told iNews.

Tributes to Brianna have been pouring in since her death at the weekend. On TikTok, many of Brianna’s 31,000 followers have expressed their shock at the news: “Rest in peace Bri, you deserve so much better and will be missed so much I hope you can finally be at peace,” one user wrote. Another said: “My heart is absolutely breaking for you angel… I’m so sorry. Rest easy beautiful soul.”

On Twitter, one user wrote: “16-year-old transgender girl Brianna Ghey was ruthlessly murdered. Two 15-year-olds have been arrested for her murder. She should still be with us today. She deserved to see transgender liberation. I’m sorry they took that from you, Brianna.” Meanwhile, Nadia Whittome, the MP for Nottingham East, posted: “​​Rest in peace, Brianna Ghey. Brianna deserved a chance to become a beautiful adult woman, and to live to see a world where trans people are safe and respected.

Shon Faye, author of The Transgender Issue, highlighted the growing atmosphere of hostility towards trans people in the UK, and the role it may have played in Brianna’s death. “Trans inclusion guidelines in schools withdrawn by local authorities,” she wrote on Instagram. “Every charity supporting trans young people and trans inclusion viciously attacked for years as a deliberate drain on time, money and staff morale. Transphobic campaigners who argue schools should be allowed to misgender, deadname, and segregate trans girls are lauded across the media for years. This is the wider context in which we, the adults, set a tone and standard for how [children] should behave towards one another.”

Brianna’s family also posted a tribute on Monday. “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.”

As a result of the UK’s backwards laws, tragically, Brianna will be misgendered on her death certificate. “The media has no issue gendering Brianna correctly now but they’ve been leading the charge in passing a fear-mongering campaign to not let 16-year-old trans people get a gender recognition certificate,” civil rights attorney Alejandro Caraballo said.

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