UK tabloid The Daily Mail is facing intense criticism for sensationalizing and profiting off of a trans teenager’s murder. The recent cover story discussed the teenager’s death in sympathetic terms while promoting the outlet’s true crime podcast on the trial. And just a day prior, the paper had run a cover story presenting trans acceptance as harmful to children.
On Wednesday, just after two 16-year-olds were found guilty of murdering Brianna Ghey, The Daily Mail published a front-page story that readers called out for “crocodile tears.” Beneath a prominent advertisement for the outlet’s podcast on the murder and subsequent trial, the headline quoted Ghey’s parents, “What they did to our beautiful Brianna will haunt us forever.”
The Tory MP referred to a trans woman as a “man in a dress”
Hours earlier, The Daily Mail’s front page promoted a Tory MP’s defense of the UK government’s recent anti-trans school guidance. The headline read, “Teaching children you can be born in the ‘wrong body’ is harmful.” Readers were quick to point out the hypocrisy.
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The recent coverage is far from the first time The Daily Mail has used its platform to scapegoat the trans community (as recently as November, the outlet was still deadnaming Ghey). For literal years, the paper has stoked the kind of fear and paranoia that endangers trans people like Ghey, and the internet came prepared with receipts.
Brianna Ghey, whom friends and family called “a beacon of positivity” and “larger than life, funny, witty and fearless” was murdered on February 11. Two schoolmates—referred to as “Girl X” and “Boy Y” due to their age—lured Brianna Ghey into Culcheth Linear Park in Warrington and stabbed her to death. After being apprehended, each defendant blamed the other for the murder, but cell phone evidence showed that both had been planning the murder for months. Throughout their correspondents, the defendants used transphobic slurs, referred to Ghey as “it,” and speculated on her genitals.
On December 20, a jury found both teens guilty of “joint enterprise homicide,” and they will face mandatory life sentences. A judge will decide on when they may be eligible for early release at their sentencing in January.
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