This is a photo of Brianna Ghey, the 16-year-0ld girl who was stabbed to death at the weekend. She was trans, but the newspapers didn’t know that at first – and when they found out, the Times went back through its news story about her and removed every reference to her being a girl.
As journalist Mic Wright points out, it’s notable that the reporting of this particular murder – of a young, pretty, photogenic, white teenage girl – has not been reported in the same way the murders of other pretty young white girls have been.
It’s possible to believe — and I do — that there are two terrible and cruel things at work here: Newspapers are both obscuring the relevance of Brianna’s identity and discussing her being trans in the worst possible way by deadnaming her and making other insinuations.
We don’t yet know why Brianna was killed; the police are currently investigating whether it was, as seems likely, a hate crime. Whatever the explanation, the response within the LGBT+ community is one of absolute heartbreak. We have been trying to warn about the rising tide of anti-trans hatred in the media and online, and how that hatred is manifesting itself in the streets: hate crimes have skyrocketed, particularly against trans people, and against trans women and girls in particular.
We’re heartbroken not just because of the senseless loss of life. We’re heartbroken because for years, we have been telling you that this is the inevitable outcome of demonising, defaming and scaremongering about trans people. The so-called gender critical people pretending to be sad about her death are only sad because it’s bad optics for their movement. They’re crying crocodile tears, because this is exactly what they want: fewer trans people. Trans people are very familiar with people urging them to kill themselves, with people trying to prevent them from getting the healthcare that’s proven to reduce mental distress, with people urging others to take action to prevent them from existing safely in society.
As Helen Joyce, writer of the utterly disgraceful Trans and one of the UK’s most prominent anti-trans activists has said, trans people – all trans people – are “a huge problem for a sane world” and we must reduce their numbers. It looks like she’s getting her wish.