Eden Knight: US officials investigate death of Saudi trans woman who shared suicide note
The US government is investigating the apparent suicide of a Saudi transgender woman who says she was forced by her family to leave the United States, according to reports.
Eden Knight, 23, posted a suicide note on Monday alleging that her parents had hired American “fixers” to help her return to the authoritarian kingdom and force her into detransition.
She said repairmen introduced her to a Saudi lawyer in Washington D.C. who slowly made her dependent on him for “food and shelter” while urging her to live like a man, leading her to suffer from a nervous breakdown and to acquiesce to the demands of his family.
On Thursday, a US State Department spokesman said Vice News“We have seen these reports and are investigating these allegations.”
Ms Knight’s friends welcomed the investigation, although some expressed fears it was going nowhere.
“Forced detransition is torture,” said Merrick DeVille, a friend of Ms Knight who led an effort to gather evidence on her case for journalists and activists.
“[Eden] would still be here if her family would let her live as they wanted. I’m tired of seeing my friends suffer and die. This community just wants to live their life and be themselves.”
The Independent was unable to fully confirm Ms Knight’s death, but social media accounts belonging to alleged family members announced funeral arrangements for a “young man” with the same legal first and last name, and her friends have not heard from her since her suicide note late on Sunday March 12.
This post, apparently planned in advance, caused consternation and fury among her many friends in the United States, where she had attended high school and later studied computer science at George Mason University.
The message alleged that her parents, who she described as “strict conservative Muslims”, bullied, berated and denied her access to her hormone medication until her spirit was broken.
Talk to ViceFriends of Ms Knight have corroborated her account that she was approached by American “fixers” in the summer of 2022 and then taken to DC by a Saudi lawyer.
A friend named Hayden, who hosted Ms Knight at his home in Georgia for five months last summer, said Vice that he had heard Mrs. Knight talking on loudspeaker with a man who offered to bridge the gap between her and her parents.
Two friends gave similar accounts to The Independentclaiming that Ms Knight had initially been optimistic about raising awareness as she hoped to seek political asylum in the United States.
Helen Vogel, a 28-year-old artist in Los Angeles who described Ms Knight to them as “like a sister”, provided screenshots of private messages from August in which Ms Knight says the alleged fixer had “called [her] to help with [her] asylum procedure”.
“She thought the man in the screenshot…was a good Samaritan who would help her stay in the United States long term,” Ms Vogel said.
Saudi Arabia has invested considerable resources in neutralizing dissidents and critics abroad in recent years, often trying to persuade them to return to the country or even arresting them on brief return trips.
Neither Ms Knight’s apparent family nor the alleged repairers responded to requests for comment.
The Independent Gt