Birmingham vigil for Brianna Ghey attacked by LGBTQ+ hate

Catherine Muxworthy February 20, 2023

On Friday, February 17, people in Birmingham came together to hold a vigil for Brianna Ghey – a transgender teenage girl who was murdered in Warrington – but prior to the event, those already gathered were barraged with anti-LGBTQ+ hate.

The Birmingham vigil – which was just one of many across the UK being held to mourn Brianna and unite in supporting trans right – was held in Hippodrome Square, beside the newly erected HIV and AIDS Memorial, and it saw a large crowd of people coming together; showcasing the power of numbers. Ahead of the vigil’s start, however, the news outlet I Am Birmingham caught on camera the moment that the community was attacked with anti-LGBTQ+ hate.

Trans rights activist and Birmingham Pride’s Director of Innovation, Eva Echo, was being interviewed by I Am Birmingham when a group of teenage boys arrived at Hippodrome Square and began shouting slurs, homophobic, and transphobic abuse. There were also reports that one of the teenagers was carrying a knife. Southside security staff eventually managed to usher them away before the vigil was held, allowing the community the gather in peace.

During the interview, Eva Echo was telling I Am Birmingham, “You’ve got the media that constantly attacks trans people, you’ve got MPs in the House of Commons who mirror that language and it sets a very dangerous precedent because it normalises transphobia, allowing people to basically take it upon themselves to speak out and take action against the trans community.” Eva was then interrupted by shouts of anti-LGBTQ+ hate, which she later stated only proved her point.

Eva said, “[This is the] first time I’ve ever been interrupted during an interview. Sadly, this is the reality of being LGBTQ+ and it’s exactly why we have so much work to do – especially to tackle misinformation, lies and ignorant attitudes which lead to people being radicalised by hate.

“I urge all mainstream media/press to report responsibly and accurate. Stop placing clicks, sales and ignorant journalism over real human lives. Words, misinformation and lies can kill just as much as knives can. The loss of Brianna’s life is proof of that.”

Speaking about the vigil itself, Eva Echo added, “I just want to say a huge thank you from me and the other organisers of last night’s vigil in Birmingham. The area was packed with hundreds of people coming together to remember Brianna and to stand with the trans community. Thank you to all the speakers for your powerful words, which remind us just how important visibility and stepping up can be, if we wish to see change. The vigils are proof that we can come together and that when we do, we are powerful.”