Vigils for Brianna Ghey have been organised around the country – we list details below. Trans people have faced years of attacks from bigots, Tories and the media. Other minorities, including refugees, are also under attack, writes Colin Wilson. We must stand together.

Photo: Steve Eason

Members of rs21 are appalled and saddened by the death of Brianna Ghey. We send our condolences to her family and friends. As well as feeling sorrow, we also feel deep anger. The exact circumstances of Brianna’s death are still under investigation – on Tuesday police stated they were treating the attack ‘as a possible hate crime’ – but there can be no doubt about the context of these events. Research has found that 4 out of 10 trans people had experienced a hate crime in the previous twelve months. Reports have repeatedly found alarmingly high levels of depression and suicide among young trans people. For many trans people, Brianna’s death will not be an isolated incident.

Trans people have been subject to relentless attacks for years now. The British Tories withdrew their plans for gender recognition reform, and are now for the first time using Section 35 of the Scotland Act to stop reform there. Tory right-wingers like Kemi Badenoch repeat transphobic talking points about trans people presenting a threat to women.

Every day in the media – most of all in right-wing papers like the Daily Mail and Telegraph, but in the Guardian too – attacks on trans people are published while trans experience goes unreported. Brianna’s death hasn’t stopped that onslaught for a moment. Yesterday, the Telegraph published three transphobic articles – one about health care for young trans people, one an attack on Nicola Sturgeon and the third an attack on an LGBT equality project run by NHS Scotland. Reporting of Brianna’s death in much of the media first didn’t mention the fact that she was trans, obscuring the possibility that this was a hate attack. Some sites then acknowledged it, but also changed their coverage so as to remove the words ‘girl’ and ‘woman’. Some sites deadnamed her.

Transphobic and homophobic media coverage has contributed to a rise in hate crimes against trans people – up by over half in the year to March 2022. Trans people of colour face particular oppression – trans asylum seekers have been placed in unsafe accommodation and been denied healthcare, while in the US black trans people are disproportionately affected by issues including homelessness and HIV infection, with black transfeminine people in particular experiencing horrendous levels of violence, including more than 30 murders in 2022.

The far right in Britain is now organising attacks on Drag Queen Story Hours, with Patriotic Alternative attempting last Saturday to stop such an event at Tate Britain in London, an attempt seen of by a successful anti-fascist protest. And such groups are not only transphobic but racist, as was plain from the horrific attack on Friday on the Suites Hotel in Knowsley, where far right thugs with petrol bombs set a police van on fire.

The far right are trying to take advantage of the desperation so many people feel over the cost of living, the NHS crisis and the collapse of other public services. The Tories are desperate to divert attention from their own failings by whipping up hate, as when Home Secretary Suella Braverman referred to desperate refugees crossing the English Channel in small boats as an ‘invasion’.

Millions of people are horrified by a growing atmosphere of cruelty towards the most excluded people in society. At a personal level, now is the time to offer support to trans friends, family members and workmates, to attend the vigils and stand united. And after the vigils, after we have mourned, we must turn from grief to anger, and organise to fight against transphobic scapegoating, to fight for trans liberation.


Tuesday 14

7pm, St George’s Hall

6pm, College Green

Wednesday 15

6pm, Department of Education

7pm, Sackville Gardens

7pm, Parker’s Piece

6.30pm, Victoria Gardens

5pm, Keele University/Forest of Light

7pm, The Pride Hub

7pm, outside Zero/Friary

7pm, Goat Ledge

6.30pm, Dalston Square

7pm, East Point Pavilion

7pm, The Square

Thursday 16

7pm, George Square

7pm, Gorsedd Gardens

6pm, Nucleus Arts, High Street

8pm, Peace Gardens

Friday 17

6.30pm, Hippodrome Theatre

6pm, St Helens Square

12 noon, Bristo Square

7pm, Brian Clough Statue

6pm, Brunswick Place

6pm, Buttermarket

Saturday 18

7pm, Forbury Gardens

3pm, Park Square

3pm, Soho Square

6pm, Times Square

5pm, Marischal College

5.30pm, The Spot, City Centre

Sunday 19

6pm, Radcliffe Square

5pm, Sun Dial

The above is a list of vigils we knew about at the time of publication – for updates and details of more see the Stonewall was a Riot website

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