This year, we lost 8 people in the UK.

8 lives cuts short, each with hopes, dreams and love that will now never be. Each with something unique and special to bring to the world that they can no longer share. And each a victim of the increasingly hostile, malicious and vitriolic environment in our supposedly inclusive and tolerant country.

The anti-trans rhetoric is being allowed to wash through the media and politics unchecked and unchallenged. Trans charities and activists are being attacked and accused, which is doubly awful; not only in respect of the awful abuse being thrown at charity workers and volunteers, but in that it also means that they aren’t able to get on with the important work they are supposed to be doing in supporting trans people – including children.

Even one life lost would be too many, but eight is appalling. Below we have shared photos of those who have died in the UK this year; Zen, Shay, Iggy, Blair, Taylor, Emma, Alice and another person whose name we don’t know. We don’t have a photo of this person either, and both for the reason that they were only 12 years old.

Worldwide, 13 trans people under the age of 18 died this year, the youngest of whom was just 10. Alex, a ten year old boy from Canada, had spoken with his parents about his struggles: “[He] had asked us if we would accept that she was gay, lesbian or trans. [He] was looking at [himself] a lot. As his parents, he had been told that no matter [how he identified] we were always going to love him”. News reports stated that Alex had expressed a wish to wear a binder around his chest to hide his curves and even to have his breasts completely removed. For Christmas, he also wanted to receive boxers for boys as a present. A coroner observed that Alex had developed precocious puberty and was struggling with the changes happening to his body.

Here in the UK, Mermaids have been under fire for providing binders to trans children without their parents’ consent. When faced with the devastating reality of the impact on children, and indeed all trans people, of not receiving gender-affirming care, it is beyond belief that charities that exist to help and support vulnerable people should be chastised – for essentialy saving lives.

While people are out here arguing about which door people pee behind, others are dying. Tonight we light candles and hold in our hearts all 390 trans and gender diverse people whose lives ended in acts of anti-transgender violence. Trans Rights are Human Rights, and Trans Lives Matter.