Police are searching for a transgender teenage girl who is thought to have gone missing days after coming out.
Friends appealing for information on Maya’s whereabout said she had only come out as transgender very recently and that she is “very vulnerable” and the disappearance was “extremely out of character”.
Maya was last seen on CCTV wearing a pink shoulder-length wig, pink face mask, pink top, white skirt, white tights and trainers. She was also carrying a black, Puma rucksack and a black suitcase. She is described as 5 foot 10 with pale skin, slim build and hazel or light brown eyes.
Essex Police said in a statement officers were keen to locate Maya in order to check on her welfare.
Model, author and LGBT+ activist, Munroe Bergdorf, who shares the same hometown as Maya, posted an Instagram appeal to her 500,000 followers to help find the teenager.
Bergdorf said: “Maya - if you are reading this please let someone know that you are safe. I know how difficult and oppressive growing up in a small town like Stansted can be when you don’t fit the status quo. But please let someone know you are ok, so that we can help you with whatever you need.”
They added: “Disclosing someone’s gender identity without their permission is not something that I would ordinarily condone or recommend. But the fact that Maya is both a minor and transgender, alone in a major city, places her at a considerable risk of danger.”
Many transgender people in the UK are at particular risk of discriminatory-based violence, with reports of transphobic hates crimes quadrupling between 2015 and 2020. Trans youth are also subject to risks of family rejection, with almost a fifth of LGBT+ youth struggling with homelessness.
Anyone with any information on Maya’s whereabouts is asked to call 999, quoting case number: MPC/4367/21.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies