US authorities investigating suicide of Saudi trans woman Eden Knight
By Jossie Evans, Digital Journalist
Authorities in the US have confirmed they are looking into reports that a trans woman took her own life in Saudi Arabia after being forced to de-transition.
Eden Knight, 23, had been living in the US, but said her parents had hired "fixers" to coerce her into returning to Saudi Arabia where she was denied access to her hormone medication.
In a message to friends on Twitter she said: "If you're reading this, I’ve already killed myself."
A separate post, from an account apparently belonging to her family, seemed to confirm her death - referring to a "young man" with the same legal name as Knight.
On Thursday, a spokesperson for the US State Department told VICE News: "We have seen these reports and are studying these allegations."
The gender expression of trans people is criminalised in Saudi Arabia and, according to Human Dignity Trust, trans people "may also face prosecution for failing to adhere to strict dress codes imposed by Sharia law."
In a post to her 22,000 Twitter followers, Knight recounted efforts by "fixers" she says were sent to the US by her parents.
She described being "pampered" before becoming isolated by their efforts, including taking her to therapists, hiding her feminine clothes, and telling her she "looked like a man".
After realising she was "dependent" on the "fixers," Knight said she returned to Saudi Arabia where her family's efforts to de-transition her continued - with access to her hormone treatment denied.
Headlined "final message," Knight's post concluded: "I wanted to be a leader for people like me, but that wasn’t written to happen. I hope that the world gets better for us. I hope our people get old. I hope we get to see our kids grow up to fight for us. I hope for trans rights world wide."
The hashtag #JusticeForEden is being used across Twitter to remember her, while friends and followers have paid tribute to Knight.
One account posted: "Eden was, in all of my interactions with her, an amazing person, who was phenomenally sweet, fun, and caring, who even helped me in my own journey. Her passing will not be in vain."
Another said: "Seeing the news of this genuinely made me freeze for a while. I didn't know Eden personally, I've only followed her for a pretty long time but the fact this happened is heartbreaking.
"The world remains an, at best, cold or, at worst, violently hostile place for trans people."
If any of the issues in this article have affected you or someone you know, there is always help available.
Switchboard the LGBT+ helpline can provide an information, support and referral services. Their phone line is open every day from 10am-10pm on 0800 0119 100.
Samaritans is on hand for anyone who’s struggling to cope, who needs someone to listen without judgement or pressure. They have a free 24 hour helpline on 116 123 and lots of other ways to get in touch.