British lawmaker calls for ‘dignity in death’ for trans people after Brianna Ghey killing

A lawmaker in the UK is pushing for an amend in the Gender Recognition Act. (Wiktor Szymanowicz/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

A lawmaker in the UK is pushing for an amendment in legislation which would allow for trans and non-binary people to be referred by their affirmed gender in death.

Last month, Labour Party MP Charlotte Nichols called for Britain’s Gender Recognition Act of 2004 (GRA) to be amended. This would allow the family of a deceased trans or non-binary person to posthumously change their gender on their death certificate.

The representative of Warrington North said this would “allow transgender people who are deceased to be legally remembered by the gender they lived by”. 

In a recent interview, Nichols told The Telegraph: “My question follows on from a recent petition supported by many of my constituents, regarding amending the Gender Recognition Act.

“The genesis of the petition was the murder of my constituent Brianna Ghey, whose life was brutally cut short before she was old enough to have formal legal recognition of who she was and how she will be remembered by her family, friends and our community,” she added.

The petition was officially launched on 15 February 2023 and hit almost 14,000 signatures. 

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It urged the government to update the GRA so the “family of a dead trans person with no GRC can apply for [a] re-issued death certificate via statutory declaration”. Where “a trans individual has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, they can acquire a GRC via statutory declaration”. 

However, the UK Government responded in March 2023: “As announced in 2020, we believe the Gender Recognition Act 2004 is effective, strikes the right balance and allows for those who wish to legally change their sex. We have no plans to change it.”

Nichols continued: “At that time, the Government said they did not believe any reforms were necessary, but it is something I continue to have raised with me by my constituents and will continue to raise with the Government accordingly so that this can be an option available to bereaved families should they so wish.”

Ghey was tragically killed in February 2023, when she was stabbed 38 times in the back, head and neck during a violent daytime assault in Culceth Linear Park in Warrington, Cheshire. 

Her killers, both 16, have since been named after the anonymity order which prevented media from revealing their identities was lifted, given the serious nature of their crimes.

Research also suggested that over half of trans and non-binary people were misgendered in death by officials between 2011 and 2021.

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