Eden Knight: US State Department ‘studying’ allegations around Saudi trans woman’s death

A picture of Eden Knight

The US State Department has said it is aware of the suicide of Eden Knight, a Saudi Arabian trans woman, who was allegedly forced to detransition by ‘fixers’, and it is “studying” the allegations. 

Knight was reportedly found dead on Monday (13 March) by members of her family, months after she returned to the Middle Eastern kingdom from the United States. 

The 23-year-old, who had been a computer science student at George Mason University in Virginia, left a final message on her Twitter account on Sunday (12 March). 

In the post, Knight described her estranged parents as “strict conservative Muslims” and alleged they hired American “fixers” and a Saudi lawyer to return her to Saudi Arabia. 

Knight wrote she had run into trouble with her visa and housing and the fixers promised her food and shelter, also telling her they could help secure her permanent immigration status. 

At the promise of this, she moved to temporary housing in Washington DC, where she was allegedly then coerced into de-transitioning and was constantly berated. 

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A photo of Eden Knight, a young woman with a bright pink bob and winged eyeliner, in front of flowers
Eden Knight was 23 when she died. (Eden Knight/Twitter)

Under pressure and facing more coercive behaviour, Knight felt her only option was to return home and detransition.  

“I did everything [they] asked. I cut my hair, I stopped taking oestrogen, I changed my wardrobe,” she wrote.

In Saudi Arabia, she said she was constantly searched to see if she was hiding female hormones. 

The third time her hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was confiscated, Knight said she had become “tired” and was finished fighting.

“We have seen these reports and are studying these allegations,” a spokesperson for the State Department told VICE in a statement.

‘Overflowing with joy’

News of knight’s death has rocked the trans community, alongside the close support network of friends and family Knight built in the US.

She was described by friends as “overflowing with joy” and was someone who cared about the trans community.

Bailee Daws, who Eden Knight lived with for a period of in Georgia, told PinkNews that she was “naturally a very extroverted person” who formed a close bond with the Daws family.

The plan had been for Knight to live with them permanently once she obtained asylum status.

“I loved her very, very much. She loved me, and she really loved my son so much,” Daws said. “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.”

Another friend, Zoe, described Knight to PinkNews as “funny, really smart and nuanced”.

Even though the pair had only known each other for a year, Zoe felt like Knight was a “sister that I had grown up with”.

Suicide is preventable. Readers who are affected by the issues raised in this story are encouraged to contact the 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.