Brianna Ghey concert organiser hopes gig 'changes mindsets from the ground level'

18 February 2024, 09:31 | Updated: 18 February 2024, 12:01

The concert is being held today.
The concert is being held today. Picture: Alamy/Instagram

By Seb Cheer

The organiser of a fundraising concert in memory of Brianna Ghey has told LBC he hopes the event will help to "change mindsets" about transgender people.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

The 16-year-old, who was transgender, was murdered in February 2023 in a park near Warrington, by two other teenagers.

A benefit show is taking place today in Manchester, raising money for Peace and Mind UK, founded by Brianna's mother, Esther Ghey.

The organisation aims to fund mindfulness lessons in every school, helping children to become more resilient and empathetic.

The show is raising money for the charity founded by Esther Ghey.
The show is raising money for the charity founded by Esther Ghey. Picture: Alamy

Transgender campaigner, Jaxon Feeley, who organised the concert told LBC: "Although Brianna's killing wasn't specifically for her being trans, it does and always will play a part. I think for the [trans] community that does incite fear.

"They feel like the country in general doesn't have their back, and people like the Prime Minister and people in Parliament don't understand the fear and the danger that exists, when walking down the street, when sitting on a bus, and things like that," he said.

Jaxon thinks people “panic,” and it contributes to more people feeling “the pain of [Brianna’s] family, which no-one should have to go through.”

Jaxon has worked with Esther Ghey to organise the benefit concert in memory of Brianna.

He said he's “very passionate” about Esther’s campaign for mindfulness to be taught in schools, adding: “It’s not just about being trans. It’s about mental health, it’s about young people learning how to empathise with others and how to find understanding with other people to prevent horrendous things like this happening again.

“It’s about inspiring people to be encouraged to live your truth, whatever that means.”

Read more: Brianna Ghey's mum 'refuses to hate' her killers and feels 'signs' from her daughter like cherry blossoms and rainbows

Read more: Brianna Ghey's mum Esther gives tearful tribute to murdered trans teen at vigil on first anniversary of killing

Watch Again: Nick Ferrari is joined by Brianna Ghey's mother, Esther Ghey | 15/02/24

“Don’t give up"

The idea for the concert was initially to bring transgender people and allies together, following the Prime Minister’s speech at the Conservative Party conference in October 2023, in which he said: "We shouldn't get bullied into believing that people can be any sex they want to be. They can't, a man is a man and a woman is a woman."

Jax explained: "We held a peaceful protest in London after that happened. I expected about 10 people to turn up. We had about 600 people in the streets outside Downing Street, just being a crowd of people actually feeling seen and heard and understood, and a little bit safer.

"A lot of people turned up that day feeling really defeated, and I had so many messages afterwards telling me how people left with a bit of hope, and a bit of belonging.”

He’s hoping people can take motivation from the event, adding, “don’t give up, because no matter who tells you this is wrong, there are millions of people who feel like it's right, because it is.

“The truth will always shout louder so that's what we're going to do.”

Brianna Ghey concert organiser, Jax Feeley, on Rishi Sunak

Jaxon says he wants the event to “change mindsets from the ground level” about transgender people.

Following widely-criticised comments by Rishi Sunak about “defining a woman” in Parliament, Jax told LBC: “The Prime Minister's words have more impact than anyone actually realises. I think what he says is uneducated, ignorant, and extremely dangerous.

"I don't think he realises, that then encourages people who disagree to carry on putting hate towards people. It puts trans people's lives in danger, in wider society. It threatens their healthcare, it makes people panic, it makes people give up.

"His children will be listening to that. Even if he's not directly transphobic, I can only think that his children are listening to that and going, 'well if I ever veer any way from that middle, heteronormative societal expectation that you're putting on me, I can't go to my Dad about it, because you're not a safe space.’”

Downing Street declined to apologise for the Prime Minister’s language, describing the comments as “legitimate” criticism of the Labour leader.

"I don't think those U-turns are a joke, it is quite serious changes in public policy. I think it is totally legitimate for the prime minister to point those out."A Number 10 spokesperson said at the time: "If you look back on what the prime minister was saying, there was a long list of U-turns that the leader of the opposition had been making.

Brianna Ghey concert organiser hopes event will ‘changes mindsets from the ground level’

Jax told LBC, he wants to slowly make changes: "Let's be honest, it's not going to change anything with regards to the Prime Minister's opinion.

"We have to change mindsets one by one, because you change one mindset, you change a hundred.

"They take it home, and it hits their emotion, or they don't say that thing again, or they go on YouTube, and learn something. Then it escalates."