Sophie, a Scottish transfemme musician, died on the 30th of January in a freak accident that sent shock waves through the trans community.
I was familiar enough with Sophie’s music through the Los Angeles trans drag community, and something about Sophie’s death has struck a different chord than other high profile trans deaths. When other girls in our community die, it’s rarely because of an accident. We’ve grown numb to seeing trans women die from suicide, overdose, and murder.
But a trans death from a tragic accident? That’s rarer.
Sophie died when she climbed to the top of a balcony in Athens, Greece (though in some reports, others said she climbed a tree) and fell in an accident while trying to get a better look at the full moon. In the early hours after news of her demise hit the community, many trans girls and women waited to hear what the official cause of death was, and there was a palpable sigh of relief when we learned that her death was an accident and not a suicide.
It’s strange to feel relief over a death of one of our own being an unfortunate accident rather than a suicide, overdose, or violent crime, but we live in a world where young trans women don’t often seem to die from natural causes. Had Sophie died from one of those aforementioned causes, I think we’d be mourning in a very different way.
I’ve lived through the deaths of several trans friends, and, indeed, suicide hits differently. It hurts in a personal and ripping way — like part of your own soul has been shattered and reflected back at you. Overdose also hits differently — to those of us who struggle with addiction, we see what could be us. To those who have survived addiction and are on a path to recovery, we see deeper still what could have happened to us. And though I’ve never personally known someone to die in a murder, I rather imagine that would hit very differently.
But when someone dies in a freak accident, while that, too, could happen to us, it’s more… subtle. It’s shocking and sad, but somehow so much less depressing than if she had died through other more expected means.
Listening to Sophie’s music today, it struck me just how different this feels and how… strangely poetic her passing was. It feels odd to say that a death could be romantic, but Sophie, ever-eccentric, was merely trying to get a better look at the moon. If anybody I follow was going to die that way, it was Sophie. And while totally horrible, it’s beautiful in a dark, depressing, fucked up way.
And now, Sophie’s music is immortalized. Sad and beautiful, songs like “It’s Okay to Cry” bear new meaning and, without knowing it, Sophie gifted the community with permission to cry over her loss.
Petitions have circulated online to name a planet after Sophie, as well as constellations and even January’s full moon. Sophie’s moon. I can think of no more beautiful way to honor Sophie’s life and give something for the community who looked up to her to look up at when remembering the woman who gave us music that sounds like no one else’s.