The body of 16-year-old Brianna Ghey was discovered this past Saturday afternoon in the Linear Park in Culcheth, a small community located between the port city of Liverpool and metropolitan Manchester. She had been repeatedly stabbed and was pronounced dead at the scene by police and paramedics who responded.

Ghey, who lived in Birchwood, Cheshire, and was a junior at Birchwood Community High School had been bullied for her transgender identity, according to comments left on social media posts by friends and fellow students.

Her friends alleged she had been bullied and gang beaten at Birchwood Community High School for several years over the “simple reason of being trans.” In another post one claimed that school administrators, staff and faculty was aware of the bullying “refused to intervene.” 

Cheshire Constabulary Detective Chief Supt. Mike Evans told British media outlets: “At this time, there is no evidence to suggest that the circumstances surrounding Brianna’s death are hate related,” adding “Patrols have been stepped up in the local area and officers will remain in the Culcheth area to provide reassurance and address any concerns that residents may have.”

On Monday Evans said that police believe the death of Ghey was “targeted” and that two teenagers, a 15-year-old boy and girl, both local residents, have since been arrested on suspicion of murder and are currently in custody.

Evans told reporters that a full investigation into the death are underway and that his officers are “doing all that we can to establish the exact circumstances of what has happened.”

“At this time, there is no evidence to suggest that the circumstances surrounding Brianna’s death are hate-related,” he stated. 

As news coverage of the 16-year-old’s death spread, several British press outlets misgendered and deadnamed her, which drew the ire and criticism of LGBTQ advocacy groups including the Trans Safety Network which posted on Twitter: “We are appalled to note that @thetimes have now updated their article on the killing of Brianna Ghey to remove all references to her being a girl and to add her deadname.”

We are appalled to note that @thetimes have now updated their article on the killing of Brianna Ghey to remove all references to her being a girl and to add her deadname.

Previous version:

Current version:

— Trans Safety Network (@trans_safety) February 13, 2023

Ash Sarkar, a a senior editor at London-based Novara Media and a leading feminist progressive voice in U.K. politics, tweeted her anger at the misgendering:

A 16 year old girl has been murdered, taken from her friends and family when her life was only just beginning. I cannot fathom the callousness involved in making the editorial decision to violate her dignity in death.

Disgusting from @thetimes.

— Ash Sarkar (@AyoCaesar) February 13, 2023

As a result of the outcry, the Times did revise its coverage, although other outlets including the BBC News and Sky News failed to mention that Ghey was trans in their initial reporting.

A Trans Safety Network spokesperson told Britain’s leading LGBTQ media outlet PinkNewsUK:

“Whatever the specific circumstances leading to Brianna Ghey’s death, we are currently living through a period of unprecedented moral repugnance towards trans people, largely channelled through a compliant media which shows less and less respect for trans peoples’ lives and humanity.

“We have seen how even in death, the press has chosen to compound this harm by publicly disrespecting Brianna’s identity until public outcry forced them to reconsider.

“It shouldn’t take a public show of grief to value the lives of trans children, and her life should have been valued enough to not have been taken in the first place,” the spokesperson added.

The local MP, Charlotte Nichols, told PinkNewsUK that the local community is “reeling from the news” of Ghey’s death.

“Brianna’s family have been very clear in their statement who Brianna was: ‘a much-loved daughter, granddaughter and baby sister’. That should be the starting point for any coverage, and how we all talk about her,” Nichols told PinkNewsUK.

“Brianna was trans, and at this point it is not clear whether that was relevant to the circumstances surrounding her death, but there is absolutely no need whatsoever for anyone to publish her deadname when identifying her as trans in media coverage.”

“The least we can all do for Brianna is remember her for who she was, and not who she wasn’t, out of respect not only for Brianna but for her grieving family and friends,” she added.

Brianna Ghey (Family photo)

“Brianna was a much loved daughter, granddaughter and baby sister. She was a larger than life character who would leave a lasting impression on all that met her. Brianna was beautiful, witty and hilarious. Brianna was strong, fearless and one of a kind,” her parents said in a statement released over the weekend.

“The loss of her young life has left a massive hole in our family, and we know that the teachers and her friends who were involved in her life will feel the same.

“We would like to thank everyone for their kind words and support during this extremely difficult time. We would like to thank the police for their support, and witnesses for helping with the investigation.”

A GoFundMe fund to assist the family has already raised £73,083 ($88841.16).

A verified fundraiser has been set up in memory of 16-year-old Brianna Ghey, after she was stabbed to death

— GoFundMeUK (@GoFundMeUK) February 13, 2023

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