Eden Knight: Friends remember Saudi trans woman’s ‘overflowing joy’ after her tragic death
Eden Knight, a trans woman from Saudi Arabia who died by suicide after allegedly being forced to detransition, was “overflowing with joy” and a person who cared deeply about her community.
Eden was reportedly found dead on Monday (13 March), months after she returned to Saudi Arabia from the US, where she had been a student.
On Sunday (12 March), she left a final message on Twitter giving her account of the circumstances that led to her death. Eden was allegedly moved away from her support network, isolated, pressured to return to Saudi Arabia and coerced into de-transitioning.
Many of Eden’s friends remember how witty she was, and how she was very intelligent with a keen interest in economics, politics and computer science.
For a time, Eden lived with Bailee Daws and their family in Georgia, in 2022.
Bailee tells PinkNews that Eden was “naturally a very extroverted person” and was very loved by their family, especially their young son who formed a close bond with her. They’d planned for Eden to live with them permanently “once she was able to be granted asylum”.
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“I loved her very, very much,” Bailee says.“She loved me, and she really loved my son so much. She was like an aunt to him. In fact, my spouse and I gave her a bracelet that had the word ‘aunt’ sketched into it, and our son referred to her as aunt too – it was really sweet.
“They had an inseparable bond. That’s one of the most heartbreaking things I think about all of this is that my son still asks for her sometimes.”
Eden Knight cared deeply about her community and was filled with ‘overflowing joy’ to be able to live as her authentic self.
Eden Knight came out as trans during the COVID-19 pandemic after moving to the US to attend university.
Victoria met her for the first time in-person at a Pride event last June, in Georgia. Eden was very early-on in her transition, but Victoria says she was “super confident, happy” and “just overall joyful to be [herself]”.
“We laughed, we drank together, we cried and she just felt like a sister to me,” Victoria says.
“One of the things I distinctly remember is there was a period of time where she approached me and she was like: ‘Tori, I feel really dumb being out here. I just don’t look that good, and I think I look like a man.’
“And I told her: ‘Listen, you’re really beautiful. You look beautiful.’ And I saw over the next several months, just confidence came out of her, and she looked beautiful and happy and proud.
“Seeing that growth … just meant the world to me.”
Rozanne says she and Eden bonded over having a similar build. She says Eden once came to her, before she began hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and said she was her “transition goals”.
“Seeing her be that excited to look so beautiful and become that beautiful made my heart soar,” she says.
“She was so thoroughly happy. I’d known her for a full year at that point, and the level of overflowing joy that she had when I would speak to her was so apparent.”.
Roxanne says Eden was “so opulent”, and it’s a tragedy the “world is no longer graced by that”.
Another friend, Zoe, recalls how much Eden loved Swedish rapper Bladee. She posted about buying an ‘I ❤️Bladee’ shirt on Twitter, and described herself as a “transexual drainer” – a name adopted by the Bladee fandom – in her Twitter bio.
Zoe says the pair “quickly grew to have a really strong connection”, and they brought out the “gossipy” side in each other – which was unusual for them.
“She was funny, really smart and nuanced,” she says. “We both kind of don’t like gossip, but we brought out the gossip in each other. We get really petty when we talk and stuff like that.
“We’d share edgy, hot takes and be like, ‘Oh my god, I’m gonna say it bro!’ We’d share dumb memes that we wouldn’t post anywhere else. Even though I knew her for a year, I felt like she was a sister that I had grown up with.”
As per her note and testimonies of friend, a chain of horrific events preceded Eden Knight’s death
Eden Knight was estranged from her parents back in Saudi Arabia, who she described as “strict conservative Muslims” in her final Twitter post.
She alleged that her parents hired American “fixers” and a Saudi lawyer to take her back to Saudi Arabia, where trans people face immense discrimination.
Eden decided she would “give it a shot”, and her friends told PinkNews that these fixers claimed they could help her secure permanent immigration status because she was, at the time, an undocumented migrant seeking asylum.
Bailee Daws tells PinkNews Knight seemed “enthusiastic and confident” in texts that these fixers would help with her immigration status.
They and their family were “excited” too because they were “trying to exhaust every option to figure out what’s the next step” to keep Eden in the US.
After talking to the fixers, Eden moved to temporary housing in Washington DC. Here, she alleged, she was coerced into de-transitioning with the promise of shelter and food. Feeling the pressure and faced with being constantly berated, Eden wrote, she returned to Saudi Arabia.
She was put through routine searches of her belongings while living at home to see if she had hidden stashes of feminising hormones, according to her message. After her hormones were found for a third time, she said she felt “tired” and was finished fighting.
Eden expressed in her message that she “wanted to be a leader for people” like her, but that “wasn’t written to happen”.
Her friends say she knew that she might die before seeing that reality come to pass. Zoe says Eden spoke about “martyrdom” to bring about change.
Daws has wanted “so badly to cry and to grieve” since Eden’s passing, but they “physically cannot do it” because there is a rage inside of them that they don’t think “human beings were meant to feel”.
Roxanne says that, in an ideal world, the people who participated in the events that led to Eden’s passing would be held to account for the “horrible thing that they’ve done” and stripping the world of someone who would have done so much for the world.
“If she was still here and she was able to get out of her situation, she would have done so much because she was so resilient and driven that she would have done amazing things,” Roxanne says.
“It’s very important to in her honour resolve within ourselves to do those amazing things and to use it as motivation to know what this world wants to take away from us and that we can’t let it do that. That would be what she would want to have happen.”
Suicide is preventable. Readers who are affected by the issues raised in this story are encouraged to contact Samaritans on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org), or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk). Readers in the US are encouraged to contact the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255.
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