We’re holding this vigil to create a safer community space to mourn the tragic loss of our trans sister, Brianna Ghey.
Brianna was remembered by her friends as a “beacon of positivity,” and her friend Amelia said she “made me feel unstoppable as a trans girl” and that she never let anyone put themselves down. Consistently, she is remembered as someone who was generous, compassionate, and kind. To be doing grassroots community support work at sixteen to help her sisters—our sisters—access hormones safely and legally is astounding. To quote one of the speakers at Wednesday night’s vigil, “she was a fucking hero, and she deserved to live.”
But the fact that Brianna, a sixteen-year-old girl, was providing more effective community care than our institutions shows how deeply our society is failing trans people. We are tired of going to vigils; we are tired of mourning our trans sisters, trans brothers, and trans siblings who have been taken from us. We are tired of seeing our names smeared by the disgraceful, transphobic media class, who profit off our suffering and look the other way when a child is murdered. Murdered by other children, no less. No child is born with that kind of hatred in their hearts, so who radicalised them? We say that the blame lies squarely at the feet of the transphobic media, transphobic politicians, and those who enable bigots. Fleet Street, Westminster, you have blood on your hands.
This cannot happen again. No more transfemicide. No more trans suicides No more scapegoating of tiny populations – like trans people and refugees, who are not mutually exclusive groups, may we add – whilst the people of this country freeze in their homes and struggle to afford food whilst the capitalist classes get richer and richer off our suffering. No more ignoring the suffering of our trans siblings, who are marginalised in multiple ways and who often face the brunt of state violence. No more accepting politicians who turn up with pride for a fucking photo op but refuse to condemn the senseless murder of a teenage girl.
We want to see trans people grow old and live long and happy lives because God knows that for us, growing old is a fucking privilege. Some of us in the LGBTI community have entire phone books filled with the names of people we have lost. But we aren’t going anywhere; we have always been here and we always will be.
Brianna Ghey should be here with us—not at a vigil for another lost sibling, but in Soho, in the heart of a queer community that has existed for hundreds of years and will continue to be here after we are all gone. But she isn’t, so instead we gather here to mourn the loss of yet another precious sister, who deserves so much better than this.
To trans youth who see this and are terrified, know that you are loved here. Know that you are precious and beloved. We will never stop fighting for you. We recognise that we are only as strong as the most vulnerable amongst us, and so we pledge to protect you and fight for you; you are not alone and you never have been.
This week has been so incredibly hard for so many of us. We would like you to turn to the people next to you now and tell them that you love them. Go on, we only have each other. The Soho branch of the Samaritans and Switchboard are also here if you would like to access support.
We would like to ask you to respect a two-minute silence for Brianna. Once that is over, if you would like to lay flowers, postcards, or signs for her, please lay them by the market cross. Please be careful with any open flames, too. You are among friends here.
Rest in pride, Brianna Ghey
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