A vigil for murdered trans teen Brianna Ghey was interrupted Friday night when a group of teens, most of their faces obscured by hoodies and balaclavas, crashed the gathering and yelled homophobic slurs.
The observance in Birmingham attracted dozens of local residents and activists. The outburst was caught on video as one trans activist was explaining the climate of fear trans people are experiencing in the U.K.
Local trans activist Eva Echo was speaking with I Am Birmingham when the group of thugs started shouting “F*ck LGBT!” and “F*ck you all!”
Echo was explaining how the media and members of Parliament “vilify trans people,” giving license to others to “take action against the trans community.” At that moment, the group of hooded teens skipped through the vigil yelling.
“F*ck yourselves!” one shouted.
“F*ck the LGBT community! F*ck you all!” another screamed.
Activist Echo was nonplussed. “That’s exactly why we need to come together to remember that there’s hate out there,” she said.
Ghey was found mortally stabbed by passersby in a park in Warrington, near Liverpool, on February 11. She died at the scene. Two 15-year-olds, a boy and a girl, have been charged with her murder.
Vigils for Ghey have been held across the U.K. as her story has gripped the nation.
Other video showed more teen boys taunting the mourners, one letter-jacketed thug leaping onto a platform and flipping a two-handed “f*ck you” at the vigil.
The attention-seeking thugs’ epithets did not go answered.
Nearly every “F*ck you!” hurled by the interlopers was met by another from the crowd. One young woman shouted back, “Dude, at least let you balls drop before you start!”
“It’s our lives, f*ck off!” one attendee shouted back at the teen in the letter jacket, who smiled at the attention.
Vigil attendees held their ground while the teen thugs scampered away down an adjacent street.
Reports from students and school parents indicate Ghey was serially harassed for being trans.
“It’s heartbreaking,” tweeted a fellow student at Birchwood Community High School, where Ghey was a Year 11 student. “She went to my school and we are all mourning, it will never be the same knowing this is how the media causes people to behave.”
Last Monday, friends and classmates gathered at the site of Ghey’s death in Culcheth Linear Park to lay flowers in her memory.
Despite the reported harassment, the teen had amassed thousands of followers on her TikTok account, which has since been deactivated.
In one of her last videos, Ghey lip-synced to a clip of Zendaya from Euphoria. “One last try,” she says, looking into the camera. “I’m giving life one last try.
While Ghey had transitioned socially, she was yet to change her gender on government documentation before her death. A petition to change the U.K.’s Gender Recognition Act, allowing families to update a family member’s sex post-mortem, has earned over 10,000 signatures and been submitted to Parliament.
A GoFundMe page set up to help Brianna’s family pay for funeral expenses has grown to over $130,000 in donations from nearly 7000 contributors as of Tuesday. According to organizers, the service will be “pink and colorful to match her personality.”