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Over 500 people attend vigil for Brianna Ghey in Bristo Square, Edinburgh

A candlelight vigil took place later at Calton Hill


On Friday, over 500 students and members of the public in Edinburgh came together to remember the life of Brianna Ghey, a 16-year-old trans girl who lost her life earlier this week in Culcheth, Cheshire. 

The vigil, organised by student Caitlin Wickham with the Edinburgh Political Union and Student Liberation Campaign, took place at midday in Bristo Square. 

It saw transgender, non-binary and queer speakers give heartfelt speeches about Brianna’s life and the experiences of transgender people in the UK for almost two hours, with attendees paying their respects by laying flowers and candles to remember the life of Brianna, with many holding Pride flags and signs to show solidarity with the trans community. A moment of silence was also observed.

Whilst over 30 individuals spoke, the main message of the day was one of solidarity, community, and togetherness, with speakers emphasising that “we are family”, and that no one in the crowd was alone. 

Many of the speakers were unnamed and were not planning to speak, but felt empowered and compelled to do, addressing the crowd of over 500 people.

Organiser Caitlin Wickham said: “To be trans is to be beautiful”, with fellow speaker and lecturer Dr Merlin Seller saying that “in the trans community, we are all one degree away from death and tragedy”.

The vigil comes in the wake of the death of Brianna Ghey, who found with stab wounds in Culcheth, Cheshire last Saturday. Cheshire Police issued a statement on Tuesday that states that all lines of inquiry are being explored, including whether it could have been a hate crime. 

In the statement, they also outlined: “It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.”

Similar vigils have been held over recent days across the UK, with a candlelit vigil having taken place at Calton Hill on Friday evening. 

A memorial was created to honour the life of Brianna Ghey, where attendees laid flowers and candles.

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