The Tragic Murder of 16-Year-Old Brianna Ghey

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On Feb. 11, 2023, a 16-year-old transgender girl was stabbed to death in broad daylight by two of her schoolmates. Her name was Brianna Ghey. Described by her parents as “a larger-than-life character who would leave a lasting impression on all that met her,” her death has impacted people worldwide, bringing to light the importance of keeping trans youth safe.

There is some debate about whether or not the motive of those who caused her death was linked to her trans identity — however, considering the anti-trans rhetoric that has plagued media today, as well as Ghey’s history of bullying and harassment from classmates before her demise, it is not far fetched to think that was the case.

Queer Identities as Topics of Debate
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Ghey and her family have received immense support from all over the world, with the senior investigating officer on the case having said that Brianna’s family had been “overwhelmed by the messages of support.” A GoFundMe page in support of Brianna’s family passed £90,000 (around $108,315) just three days after it was launched. There have also been countless vigils conducted all over the world in her name. However, even in death, Ghey is facing equal amounts of hate and transphobia.

Ghey’s trans identity has been used to further political debate, with known transphobic media outlets having used her deadname on several occasions. Several influential figures on Twitter have also chosen to focus on her trans identity, rather than the fact that a 16-year-old girl was killed. The reality of the matter is that Ghey was not an activist or a political figure — she was simply a young, school-going girl, trying to live life as best as she could, and that was taken from her.

Anti–Trans Violence Remains Rampant

Brianna Ghey’s case is unfortunately not a one-of-a-kind scenario. In 2022 alone, the HRC Foundation reported that at least 38 transgender people were fatally shot or killed by other violent means. This number is also unlikely to be accurate since a majority of such cases go unreported. A majority of the victims in these cases are also people of color.

Ghey’s death was tragic and entirely undeserved, however, it is an event that should act as a stepping stone toward raising awareness about the importance of keeping trans folk safe. Especially today, there is an immense need for better media coverage of the rampant violence faced by members of the community.

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