What happened to Brianna Ghey? Trans girl tragically stabbed to death in Warrington park
A boy and a girl, both 15, have been charged with murder after trans girl Brianna Ghey was found with suspected stab wounds in a park in Warrington on Saturday (11 February).
Brianna’s death has provoked both sadness and anger among the trans community and beyond, with the schoolgirl’s family remembering her as “beautiful, witty, hilarious, strong, fearless” and “one-of-a-kind”.
Cheshire Police are investigating the case, and say they have not ruled out the possibility that the killing was a hate crime.
What happened to Brianna Ghey?
Brianna Ghey was a 16-year-old trans girl, who attended Birchwood Community High School, in Warrington.
She was found in Linear Park in Culcheth, Cheshire, by members of the public. Emergency services were called at around 3pm but the teenager was pronounced dead at the scene.
A 15-year-old boy from Leigh and a 15-year-old girl from Warrington were charged with murder on Wednesday, 15 February.
A trial date has been set for 10 July, with the accused set to return to court on 2 May to enter their please. No applications for bail have been made and the pair are currently being held in youth detention.
Brianna Ghey shared updates from her life on TikTok
Brianna was an avid TikTok user, hosting to thousands of followers via her account, @gingerpuppyx, which has since been deleted. Many of her videos showed her lip-syncing to pop songs.
Just days before her tragic death, Brianna said she had been excluded from Birchwood Community High School in a video posted to TikTok, shared with the caption: “Got excluded from school.”
Just hours before she died, Brianna had posted a video which had received more than more than 8,000 comments before the account’s deletion, according to the Liverpool Echo. Many of the remarks expressed heartbreak over her death.
Brianna Ghey’s killing is being treated as a possible hate crime
Cheshire Police are trying to establish a motive for the attack and trace the weapon used.
After initially stating that there was “no evidence” to suggest the killing was a hate crime, police confirmed on Tuesday, 14 February that they had not ruled it out.
“All lines of enquiry are being explored, including whether this was a hate crime,” a statement read. “Please continue to avoid speculation online and be wary of sharing misinformation relating to the case.”
Prior to the arrests, Evans described the attack as “targeted attack against Brianna”, and stressed there was no risk to the local community, the Manchester Evening News reported.
Friends have told tabloids that Brianna had suffered bullying for years without any intervention from her school or local authorities. Some claimed she had previously been “gang beaten.”
“She had been bullied in school for years. The teachers obviously knew,” one person told The Sun newspaper.
Another said: “She was bullied and gang beaten for years for the simple reason of being trans. Her high school and Cheshire police refused to intervene.”
The Times, BBC News and Sky News are among the media organisations that have faced backlash for their reporting of the case.
The Times came in for particular criticism after its original story was amended to remove the word “girl” and to include Ghey’s deadname.
Tributes have been paid to the trans teenager
Brianna’s family have led the tributes and remembered her as a “much-loved daughter, granddaughter and baby sister”.
They added: “She was a larger-than-life character, who would leave a lasting impression on all that met her. 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 and we know that the teachers and her friends who were involved in her life will feel the same.”
The family thanked everyone for their support and for the continued respect of their privacy.
Emma Mills, Head Teacher at Birchwood Community High School, said in a statement: “We are shocked and truly devastated to hear of the death of Brianna.
“This is understandably a very difficult and distressing time for many and we will do our utmost to support our pupils and wider school community.”
Tributes have also flooded in on social media to remember Brianna and to call for trans equality and more sensitive discussion of trans lives in the media.
Many highlighted that Brianna’s legacy cannot be honoured correctly as the UK’s gender recognition law means she will be incorrectly assigned as male on her death certificate.
A Gender Recognition Certificate (GRC) allows trans people to be recognised properly on birth, death, marriage and civil partnership certificates.
Across the UK, trans people must submit a body of evidence, including a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria, before they can obtain one.
In December, Scotland passed legislation that would have removed the medical requirement, among other efforts to make the process simpler and more accessible. But last month, the UK government blocked the reform in a move that has been described as an unprecedented attack on devolution.
A fundraiser has been set up to support Brianna’s family and candle-lit vigils have taken place
A fundraising campaign was set up on GoFundMe in the wake of Brianna’s killing to help the Ghey family with funeral costs.
At the time of writing, the fundraiser has amassed pledges totalling more than £100,000 from more than 6,500 donors.
Candle-lit vigils have also been held in cities across the country including London, Manchester, Liverpool and Bristol.
TransLeeds, who will be hosting a vigil on Saturday, 18 February, has asked participants to wear pink and colourful clothes in memory of Brianna.
Rugby league club Warrington Wolves have also paid tribute to Brianna, with hooker Danny Walker wearing a team shirt bearing her name during a match on Thursday (16 February).
Meanwhile, PinkNews has learned that charities supporting LGBTQ+ people have seen a huge rise in calls and referrals to their helplines in the days following Brianna Ghey’s death.
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