Why many want ‘Dignity for Brianna’ after trans teen’s killing

Thousands of LGBTQ+ social media users are mourning Brianna Ghey, the transgender teenager killed in the United Kingdom on Feb. 11.

Thousands of LGBTQ+ social media users are mourning Brianna Ghey, the transgender teenager killed in the United Kingdom on Feb. 11.

Warrington Police

Thousands of LGBTQ+ social media users are mourning the death of a charismatic transgender teenager who was stabbed to death in a public park in the United Kingdom.

Brianna Ghey, 16, was found suffering stab wounds on Saturday, Feb. 11 at Linear Park near Birchwood, the town where she lived, BBC News reported.

Detectives told British outlets that while they believe the killing was “targeted” and authorities arrested two 15-year-old teenagers “on suspicion of murder,” there was “no evidence” to suggest her slaying was a hate crime.

As they mourn her death, many are speaking out against the country’s laws that they say will misgender and misname the transgender teenager on her death documents.

Hashtags such as “DignityForBrianna” and “SayHerName” were trending on Twitter on Monday, Feb. 13.

“Brianna Ghey, a transgender girl who was brutally murdered will not be given dignity in death and will be misgendered on her death certificate thanks to an outdated gender recognition act that the UK government has refused to reform,” one user tweeted. The tweet refers to the country’s Gender Recognition Act that bars anyone younger than 18 from applying to change their legal gender markers.

The Twitter user behind the #DignityForBrianna hashtag explained they started the campaign to demand government officials issue a Gender Recognition Certificate for Ghey so the teenager’s transgender identity would be respected in death.

The user said they intended the hashtag to call “on the Government” to issue the certificate for Ghey “so that she can have the dignity in death that everyone else in this world takes for granted.”

Trans Safety Network, a grassroots organization dedicated to researching “organized harm against trans people in the UK,” shared a statement on Twitter that appeared to express frustration that the killing is not being investigated as a hate crime despite reports that Ghey had faced years of bullying over her transgender identity.

“Whatever the specific circumstances leading to her death, we are currently living through a period of unprecedented moral repugnance toward trans people, promoted and enabled by the apathy and complicity of powerful public figures,” the statement said, pointing out that British press “[compounded] this harm by publicly disrespecting Brianna’s identity.

“The death of Brianna Ghey is a failure by our society at the deepest level,” the statement says. “It should not take a public show of grief to value the lives of trans children. Brianna’s life should have been valued enough not to be taken in the first place.”

“#DignityForBrianna because she deserves to be recognised in death as she so joyfully showed us in life,” another user added.

Ghey was a beloved TikTok star known for singing and lip syncing along to songs and trying on stylish outfits and hairstyles in her videos.

Montana state Rep. Zooey Zephyr, who is trans, also weighed in on Twitter.

“Brianna should’ve been able to enjoy her girlhood without being murdered for who she was,” Zephyr wrote. “My heart breaks for her (& for every trans person afraid of the escalating hate toward us.) I’m scared too. But I promise to never stop fighting until the world lets us just live our lives.”

A Parliament member shared a statement from Ghey’s family in which they remembered her as 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,” the statement said. “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.”

Brooke (she/them) is a McClatchy Real-Time reporter who covers LGBTQ+ news and national parks out west. They studied journalism at the University of Florida, and previously covered LGBTQ+ news for the South Florida Sun Sentinel. When they’re not writing stories, they enjoy hanging out with their cats, riding horses or spending time outdoors.

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