On Saturday, 11th February 2023, a young transgender woman called Brianna Ghey was murdered in Warrington, UK. Currently there is no official motive given but it is likely to be a hate crime against a 16 year old transgender girl. I am devastated for her family and friends.
“Talk of safe spaces is rife – should sanctuaries be divisible by sex? – but I keep thinking of Brianna. Surely there are few places safer than the park on a sunny afternoon?” – Raven Smith, British Vogue
The trans community and allies joined together on Tuesday 14th February, Valentines Day, for a vigil in Brianna’s memory. There was a huge amount of love there, intertwined with tragic loss.
My journey there took me through the city centre that evening. I wore pink lipstick and pink tights as I read it was Brianna’s favourite colour. I passed a group of boys all dressed in black. One saw me, informed the group, and they all saw me. I saw them and worried. Putting on a brave face, holding my wife’s hand, I ignored them. Nothing happened. We weren’t followed. Maybe they were curious kids surprised to see someone like myself? It’s hard to fight the fear my brain makes and yet on that night I felt like the fear was valid.
As we approached St George’s Hall we could see the building was lit in the trans flag colours. Liverpool wore the flag. A powerful symbol that felt like the city was with us.
The vigil was peaceful and emotional. When possible I asked people if it was ok to photograph them. Some said no, some said yes. Those who said no thanked me for asking. I never felt like I was intruding on people’s grief for a photo which was important as this event needed to be documented by those in the community.
After a while I was emotionally drained. I sat, held a candle, and cried a little. I could not process the event. So much love yet so much tragedy.