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Bristol observes candle-lit vigil for murdered trans teenager Brianna Ghey

Candle-lit vigil for the murdered teenager Brianna Ghey - Milan Perera

By Milan Perera, News Reporter

Over hundred people gathered for a candle-lit vigil at College Green dedicated to the memory of Brianna Ghey, a 16 year-old trans girl whose body was discovered at a park in Culcheth, Warrington, on Saturday, February 11.

College Green - Milan Perera

Brianna was pronounced dead at the scene after sustaining suspected stab wounds. A boy and a girl, both 15, have been arrested in connection with the incident. The police investigating the murder of the trans teenager considering whether she could have been the target of a hate crime.

The vigil was organised as a collaborative event between trans supportive organisations based in Bristol, spearheaded by Trans Pride South West.

College Green - Milan Perera

The vigil began with a minute silence in remembrance of Brianna Ghey followed by contributions from the attendees which included poems, personal reflections and songs.

Among those who contributed were trans teenagers, trans activists, local trans artists and parents of trans children. They all conveyed profound sorrow, loss and calls for swift action to stop violence against the trans community.

One of the attndees reading a poem - Milan Perera

For one of the speakers it was a sobering reminder of the vitriolic hatred that still exists towards the trans community as only few months ago Trans Remembrance Day was marked on the same spot to commemorate the victims of transphobic violence.

The vigil was observed near a tree tied with strands of ribbons to remember individual trans members who lost their lives due to violence. A new strand was tied to the tree in memory Brianna.

A parent addressing the event - Milan Perera

While there was a sombre and dignified mood throughout the event, it was one of strength and defiance as well against what the speakers called years of transphobic rhetoric and violence. There was a musical reflection on the accordion and a group rendition of the song ‘It’s Okay To Cry’ by the late transgender artist SOPHIE.

A musical interlude - Milan Perera

Speaking exclusively to Epigram, one of the organisers who wished to remain anonymous pointed out that:

'We are here tonight in memory of Brianna Ghey who was murdered recently. She was a 16-year-old girl. There is a lot of anger and sadness in the trans community right now. She was transgender and we feel like this fact has been erased by the police and the media coverage who don’t seem to take seriously the fact that there’s a good possibility that she was murdered for being trans. That’s why we are here to add a pink ribbon to our memorial tree because pink was her favourite colour, in memory of her.'

Leeds, Edinburgh, Oxford, Glasgow, Dublin, Brighton and Belfast are among the other cities who are set to hold vigils for Brianna Ghey.