Transgender Teen Bullied At School Dies From Apparent Suicide
A transgender teen who was the target of bullying at her high school and spoke about it on YouTube has died in an apparent suicide.According to KGTV, 16-year old Taylor Alesana of Fallbrook died in an apparent suicide that took place last week. There are no details otherwise, and conflicting reports on the date her death occurred, with Fallbrook Union High School officials saying it took place on April 2, while the San Diego Gay & Lesbian News is reporting the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office said it happened on April 3.
Alesana was constantly bullied at her school and said that even after complaining to counselors nothing changed. "She felt unsafe, she felt beat up every day she needed to go to school," said Max Disposti, executive director of the North County LGBTQ Resource Center in Oceanside. Alesana spoke of her struggles on her personal Tumblr and her YouTube channel. While most of her videos were dedicated to makeup tips, a few were brutally honest about her struggle as a transgender teenager. In her first video from October, she spoke about losing "tons of friends" and the "hell" that is going to school:
In December, she posted another vlog about going back into the closet for her own protection:
In the wake of Alesana's death, Fallbrook Union High School wrote in a statement:
Fallbrook High has a continuum of appropriate services (social, emotional, academic) to ensure every student is supported and successful at Fallbrook High School. It is never easy when something like this happens, but we are working to move forward together and stronger than before."
Alesana's apparent suicide comes just weeks after another San Diego County transgender teen named Sage-David. According to Disposti, bullying is not considered a factor in his suicide, but he hopes both deaths can make schools more aware and supportive of transgender youth.
In their most recent newsletter, regarding Alesana's death, the North County LGBTQ Resource Center wrote:
Taylor had many friends here at the Center but the support she received was not enough to counter the very difficult time she had at Fallbrook High School. As a transgender teen she was constantly picked upon, bullied and attack by her peers. With few adults to turn to, and with no support from her school, her life became too difficult. Taylor was a beautiful and courageous girl, and all she wanted was acceptance. Our trans* youth are the primary target of bullying, and the desperation that it causes is literally killing their hope for a better tomorrow. Kids can be cruel, but hate is a learned behavior. Schools that are not visibly supportive of our LGBTQI youth and do not take active steps to educate about gender identity and sexual orientation are inevitably fostering the homophobes and transphobes of tomorrow.
Please, let's make sure that our most recent losses are not in vain. We can do much better than this. Sage David and Taylor Alesana, we love you, and you will be missed forever.
If someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide: do not leave the person alone, remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt, and call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.