Today saw the funeral of Brianna Ghey, a young trans girl who was murdered last month at the age of 16.
The funeral, held at St Elphin’s Church in Warrington, was unusually colourful: mourners were asked to attend wearing pink, and the road to the church was lined with people bearing pink balloons, flowers and flags. Brianna’s coffin, also pink, was led by a horse-drawn carriage, before being carried inside the church as “Video Games” by Lana Del Rey played out over speakers.
A moment of silence was held before the start of the service. Inside, Brianna’s friends and family paid tribute to her kindness, wit, determination and sense of humour. As reported in the Warrington Guardian, her grandmother said, “Goodbye my beautiful granddaughter. You can be whatever you want and will be accepted with love and celebration.” Ghey’s best friend said, “She was light on earth. Kind and caring. She found a way to make people carry on when they didn't want to. I didn’t expect to have to say goodbye so soon.”
This comes after a series of vigils held across the country to honour Ghey’s memory and protest the transphobic climate which contributed to her tragic death. A boy and a girl – both aged 15 – have been charged for her murder and are awaiting trial. While the police have alleged there is no evidence this was a ‘hate crime’, Ghey’s friends have disputed this, saying that she was subject to years of bullying and violence at school for “the simple reason of being trans”.
As author Shon Faye wrote on Instagram following Ghey’s murder, this can’t be divorced from the wider campaign against the trans community: trans inclusion guidelines in schools have been withdrawn by local authorities and charities which support trans youth have been “viciously attacked for years as a deliberate drain on time, money and staff morale”.