• Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

“It could have been any of us” — several hundred people attend memorial vigil for Brianna Ghey in Bristo Square

ByJoe Sullivan

Feb 17, 2023
A sign reading "Brianna Ghey, rest in power" outside Teviot Row House

Several hundred people attended a vigil in Bristo Square on the afternoon of Friday, February 18 in memory of Brianna Ghey, a transgender teenage girl murdered in Warrington on February 11.

Cheshire Police arrested two fifteen-year-old teenagers suspected of murdering Ghey on February 12, describing the killing as a targeted attack.

Whilst initially commenting that there was no suggestion that the killing was a hate crime, Chesire Police have since confirmed that “all lines of enquiry are being explored, including whether this was a hate crime”.

The teenagers have since been charged with murder and a provisional trial date has been set for July 10.

Over a dozen people, including trans people, trans allies and members of the Students’ Association spoke to the assembled crowd.

The speakers discussed the love and solidarity of the trans community, while mourning the loss of Brianna and condemning the culture of transphobia that helped lead to her death.

An easel with a picture of Brianna was set up on the McEwan Hall side of Bristo Square, and surrounded with floral tributes throughout the vigil.

Several sabbatical officers handed out ribbons at the end of the vigil, with mourners encouraged to tie them to the railing outside Teviot Row House.

The altar outside New Amphion – image via Joe Sullivan

Both the picture and the floral tributes were moved into Teviot after the conclusion of the vigil, and have been used to set up an altar outside New Amphion.

The ribbons and the altar will remain until Friday, February 25.

One trans speaker criticised the news coverage of Ghey’s death, saying:

“The media decided, in their infinite wisdom, that they would misgender her.”

She continued: “She was brilliant for so long until she was murdered.

“I’m afraid… it could have been any of us.”

The speaker closed by encouraging the crowd to sign a change.org petition, available here, for the UK government to issue Ghey a gender recognition certificate (GRC).

As she was under 18 at the time of her death, she could not receive a GRC under UK law.

Due to this, she is presently set to be buried with her deadname and the incorrect gender on her death certificate.

Several high school age trans youth spoke to the crowd of the horror they felt at a young trans sibling of theirs being murdered.

“Brianna never got to experience the life she could have”, one told the crowd.

“She could have done so much more than she had. You didn’t deserve any of this treatment.”

Several expressed that they had transitioned recently, with the crowd cheering on the successes that they had made to get as far as they had.

One trans speaker discussed her experience helping to build an advocacy group for trans and queer people at her high school.

She encouraged those in attendance to do the same, asking the crowd:

“In your workplace, in your school…what can you do to form associations, organisations that can represent the marginalised people there?”

Another speaker spoke of the hope Brianna expressed for those around her in life, describing her as “a centre of her community in a hostile environment.”

LGBTQ+ Liberation Officer Jaime Prada closed the main portion of the vigil with a short speech, telling the assembled crowd to share love and solidarity with one another.

“This is a fight we will never do alone, and it’s a fight we all have to share.”

A moment of silence followed, with Prada asking all those present to hold hands with other people they could find in the crowd during it.

Prada closed the official portion of the vigil by leading the crowd in a chant: “Brianna Ghey – say her name.”

Image via Lucy Jackson

By Joe Sullivan

Hey there, I'm Joe! I'm The Student's Editor-in-Chief. I love reporting on local happenings here in Edinburgh, and am always looking for tips on what the paper should be looking in to or covering. If you'd like to tip me - or if you'd like to chat otherwise - I can be found at... Text, Phone, WhatsApp, Signal - 07876 154619 Twitter - @_josephsullivan Instagram - @joe92743 Secure email is available on request.