By Isabel Ringrose
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Sorrow and anger on vigils for murdered trans teenager Brianna Ghey

This article is over 1 years, 5 months old
The Tories’ war on trans and non-binary people fuels attacks
Issue 2843
Huge crowd of hundreds in London remembering Brianna Ghey. Taken at night.

Remembering Brianna Ghey in London on Wednesday (Picture: Guy Smallman)

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. 

Over a dozen vigils took place on Wednesday. Thousands of people queued to get into the vigil in Sackville Gardens in Manchester’s Gay Village.

Over 1,000 people took to the streets outside the Department for Education in central London. The vigil was young and radical—with anger at the Tory attacks on trans and non-binary people and Keir Starmer’s failure to stand up to transphobia. There were up to 1,000 people on a vigil in Brighton and 150 at Keele university.

Over 50 mostly young people joined the vigil in Lowestoft organised by local school students. Trans and non-binary people told their stories and emphasised that we must redouble the fight against transphobia.

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 up 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

Southhampton: 6pm, Queen Peace Park

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

Warrington: 4:30pm, the Old Market Square

Derby: 5:30pm, The spot, Derby City Centre 

Sunday 19 February

Oxford: 6pm, Radcliff Square

Plymouth: 5pm, New George Street

Lincoln: 6pm, High street, Speakers corner

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