Taylor Alesana, a 16-year-old transgender teen, has died by suicide in San Diego, according to local news reports.
Her death is a stark reminder that even as the transgender community becomes more visible, our work is far from done. It's imperative to create inclusive, affirming and supportive environments for transgender youth, as well as their LGB peers.
"Supporting LGBTQ youth -- at home, in schools and in communities -- can help protect against suicide and is a crucial part of nurturing their overall well-being," said Vincent Pompei, HRC's Youth Well-Being Project Director. “All too often, schools are reactive to incidents like this, instead of doing the preventative work to create a school climate and culture that values and celebrate diverse students. Professional development is essential to ensure the overall well-being of our LGBTQ youth and it is time that all schools make that a priority."
Pompei will be attending a vigil Thursday evening, which is being organized by the North County LGBTQ Resource Center, where Alesana was a member. This is the second tragic death by suicide of a youth in the region this year -- and the seventh such death by suicide that's been reported in 2015 nationally, according to the Advocate.
If you’re a teacher or parent and want more information on how to create safe and welcoming schools for all children and families, visit welcomingschools.org or consider attending HRC’s Time to THRIVE conference.
For more resources on understanding and supporting trans youth, visit hrc.org/trans-youth