The battle for ultimate victimhood played out through racially divisive Twitter spats when the expression “say her name” began trending following the death of someone who wasn’t a black woman.
Saturday, 16-year-old Brianna Ghey was found stabbed to death in a Cheshire park in northwest England with the investigation leading law enforcement to arrest two 15-year-olds, a boy and girl, as the prime suspects. Ghey, a social media influencer, considered himself a girl and helped others gain access to hormones, and despite claims that he had been verbally and physically assaulted at times before his death, authorities have thus far ruled out the death as a hate crime.
“At this time, there is no evidence to suggest that the circumstances surrounding Brianna’s death are hate-related,” Detective Chief Superintendent Mike Evan’s said while acknowledging that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a “targeted attack.”
Vigils began being held in tribute to Ghey’s memory and many added to the use of “say her name” with “say her pronouns.”
Here's a map showing all of the announced Brianna Ghey vigils across the UK, as of 1am this morning.
Say her name: Brianna Ghey
Say her pronouns: she/her #sayhername #sayherpronouns #briannaghey #justiceforbriannaghey #vigil #translivesmatter pic.twitter.com/kRinKDTiQA
— Trans Pride Brighton (@TPrideBrighton) February 14, 2023
However, much like the outrage when the phrase “black lives matter” was adapted to say otherwise innocuous things like “baby lives matter” or “all lives matter,” activists who tout the need for tolerance showed once again what they’re really after is no less than acquiescence.
“Say Her Name is trending because people are using it for Brianna Ghey, who is white, and I need y’all to understand that that phrase/hashtag was created for Black women who are victims of police violence. [I’ve] seen white people say that they didn’t even know this, and that’s extremely troubling because that means y’all genuinely do not care about Black women, particularly Black trans women,” one person wrote while another suggested, “Please use #DignityForBrianna or similar as opposed to #SayHerName. Say Her Name is a hashtag meant to raise awareness for Black women killed by police violence. Black queer women are at a particular risk of state violence. We don’t need to appropriate that to support Brianna.”
Please use #DignityForBrianna or similar as opposed to #SayHerName
Say Her Name is a hashtag meant to raise awareness for Black women killed by police violence. Black queer women are at particular risk of state violence. We don't need to appropriate that to support Brianna.
— Ms. Deathwish: Butcher of the Unborn (@Ms_Deathwish) February 15, 2023
Meanwhile, an account that included the label “drinker of white tears” said, “White queer folks are wildin because Black people respectfully asked y’all not to use #SayHerName outside of it’s intended context. White folks sure hate being told they can’t do something huh?”
White queer folks are wildin because Black people respectfully asked y'all not to use #SayHerName outside of it's intended context. White folks sure hate being told they can't do something huh?
— Tanesha, BSN RN drinker of white tears (@ERnurse86) February 15, 2023
What wasn’t overlooked, but regularly dismissed by the BLM bunch, was that the hashtag had started because LGBT-etc. alphabet activists took umbrage with outlets “deadnaming” Ghey by using his given name and failing to use the victim’s preferred pronouns.
Regardless, while some pushed for the marginalized groups to work together toward their reported common goals, others pressed back entirely on the notion that any one group of people possessed exclusive ownership of a phrase.
“Fighting to take” as if it’s a finite resource that can only be spent on specific things and not a phrase that can be said as often as necessary. You lose nothing by letting people use “say her name” to rally around a murdered trans teen. There is no cost to you.
— Reeeeeeee (@BumboJumbo666) February 15, 2023
Despite the best efforts of the language police on social media, others continued to use the phrase and hashtag as they saw fit, including the ongoing effort to find justice for the late United States Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt who was unarmed when shot dead on January 6, 2021 when the U.S. Capitol had been breached.
Say her name
ASHLI BABBITT pic.twitter.com/ps9x947Mu8
— Debbie Corleone-Smith (@realJasperSmith) February 6, 2023
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