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Brianna Ghey Vigil

We’d like to thank each person who came along to the vigil for Brianna Ghey in Middlesbrough Centre Square.

Brianna Ghey was only 16 years old when her life was taken. We cannot honour her life without condemning the violent way it was taken from her, though we cannot let the brutal theft of her life by her murderers extinguish the light she brought into the world.

Brianna’s family remember her as a ‘much loved daughter, granddaughter, and baby sister.’ ‘A larger than life character who would leave a lasting impression on all that met her.’ ‘Beautiful, witty and hilarious.’ ‘Strong, fearless and one of a kind.’

Brianna was also trans, and for this reason, though we don’t know her or her family personally, we mourn her because we feel her loss as a member of our community. The transgender and the wider LGBTQ+ community have an instinct, and a responsibility, to try our very best to protect each other and to offer each other comfort in times of crisis and fear. Sometimes it is possible to protect each other, and sometimes, and more and more frequently nowadays it seems, it is not possible, but we continue to stand up for ourselves and each other, and when even then terrible things happen, we gather together and remind each other that we aren’t alone. We will continue to come together, to draw strength from each other, and to become part of a future where the safety of everyone is protected and valued.

We mourn Brianna on behalf of our community, but with the careful and respectful knowledge that this is the personal tragedy of a family who loved someone we did not know. We have our own just anger and fear and grief, because we see Brianna in so many young people we know, who are brave and bold in expressing themselves, living life on their own terms, and are beginning to demonstrate all the amazing potential they have stored within them. Our grief cannot compare to that of Brianna’s family and friends. But we do what we can to mark her tragic passing and honour her short life in our corner of the world.

Though Brianna’s family may not hear this individual message, they will become aware of the dozens of vigils lighting up the UK over the course of this week, and the outpouring of feeling for the beautiful person they have lost, and we hope this touches them in some positive way in this terrible time.