Anti-transgender violence on the rise in wake of Brianna Ghey tragedy

UL’s Brown Thomas draped in the trans pride flag. Photo by Jack Butler

A recent study has found that 2022 was the most violent year in a decade for LGBTQIA+ people in Europe

By Edana Flynn and Jack Butler

Anti-transgender violence has been on the rise in the wake of the death of sixteen-year-old Brianna Ghey in the UK last month. The teenager was found stabbed to death in a park in Warrington in a suspected transphobic attack. 

A recent report by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association’s European branch (ILGA-Europe) found that 2022 was the most violent year in a decade for LGBTQIA+ people in Europe. 

Late last month, a transgender woman was attacked in Cork city. The woman, in her 40s, sustained multiple lacerations to her head and a fractured hand in the attack.  

The woman was threatened with further violence online in the days after the attack, while still receiving treatment. An investigation into this attack is ongoing. 

The ILGA-Europe report found that “hate crimes against LGBTQI+ people continued to be a serious issue (in 2022), also affirmed by the government, the police’s annual hate crime statistics, and Dublin City – where bias-motivated violence has become a particular concern.” 

Operations Manager for Limerick-based LGBTQIA+ charity GOSHH, Cillian Flynn, said: “People want to be able to live their lives as their true authentic selves and any risk to a person’s safety is of concern to us. 

“We encourage anyone who has been subject to any incident of harassment or violence to report it to their nearest Garda Station. GOSHH are willing to support anyone who would like to report an incident and we encourage anyone seeking support to contact us.” 

The charity has organised a Safety Talk for LGBTQIA+ community members and allies in their office on Davis Street at 3pm on March 28. 

“This talk will provide an opportunity for the local LGBTI+ community and Allies to engage with An Garda Síochána and learn more about keeping themselves safe, both online and in person,” Mr Flynn explained. 

In solidarity with increasing recent attacks on the transgender community, the University of Limerick’s Feminist Society said, “If people want support or help, our DMs are always open to help you find the best suited support group or system you want.  

“We are always here to help and want to make the campus and the wider community a safe place for trans people to be themselves freely.” 

In the week after her shocking murder, more than 130 people gathered at a vigil in UL to honour Brianna Ghey’s name in death, for the many who still cannot say their own names in life.  

Some students wore high visibility jackets to create a security presence to make attendees feel safe and to deter people from disrupting the vigil.  

Their concerns came after a vigil in Birmingham was disrupted by homophobic chanting in the week after the teenager’s death.  

One speaker said, “Tonight, we stand in remembrance of Brianna.  Tomorrow, I want my family to stop fearing for their lives.” 

UL Feminist Society President Katelyn O’Regan said “Our biggest concern was having enough stewards that people felt safe speaking on the day.”  

Other speakers included mothers of transgender children who expressed their sorrow for “Beautiful Brianna” and her family as they donned “Mammies of Trans Kids” t-shirts.  

They spoke of the fear they feel for their own children each time they leave home as their true selves.  

Aside from GOSHH, other transgender support organisations in Limerick include Trans Limerick Community, and Trans and Intersex Pride.  

More stories from our 2023 print edition

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