Wiltshire’s only transgender councillor has spoken out over the murder of Brianna Ghey.
The 16-year-old was stabbed to death in Culcheth, Cheshire, on Saturday (11 February) – with a boy and girl, both aged 15, charged with her brutal killing.
Brianna was a transgender girl and was reportedly bullied for many years over her gender identity.
Wiltshire Council councillor for Corsham Helen Belcher, who was awarded an OBE for her services to the trans community earlier this year, says the victim “seemed to have endured much just to be herself”.
She said: “Firstly, and most importantly, my thoughts are with Brianna’s family and friends who are grieving the senseless murder of a much loved teenage girl – someone who seemed to have endured much just to be herself, yet seemed ready to help others.
“It is concerning that it’s possible that her being trans was a reason for her murder. It is difficult to comprehend what her final moments must have been like, and the emotions that her family and friends must be experiencing. My heart goes out to them.
“However we must acknowledge that Brianna’s murder has taken place after years of appalling media coverage, repeatedly questioning trans people’s authenticity, humanity and needs, usually without any trans people in the room.
“The government’s back tracking from a cross-party consensus on LGBT issues has assisted this media coverage, noted with concern around the world. It has left trans people across the country understandably worried about our futures and our safety.
“And with good reason, as reports of transphobic crimes have rocketed over recent years. As sadly predicted, we are now also seeing increased homophobia, and Wiltshire is sadly not immune according to recent conversations I have had with gay couples in the area.
“There is help out there. GALOP can give advice if you experience crime, even reporting it for you – www.www.galop.org.uk. The LGBT Switchboard offers a help line between 10am and 10pm daily – www.switchboard.lgbt. Mind Bristol offers a help line on Friday evenings – www.bristolmind.org.uk/help-and-support/mindline-transplus.
“This horrendous time will pass, and I hope we can respect and honour Brianna’s needless death by starting, once again, to make life better for all LGBT people.”
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