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Transgender Teen Commits Suicide After Being Bullied

Illustration for article titled Transgender Teen Commits Suicide After Being Bullied

16-year-old Taylor Alesana committed suicide last week. Alesana had found popularity on YouTube where she primarily gave beauty advice and makeup tips. She had also spoken openly about the bullying she faced, both at school and online. “I’ve lost tons of friends,” Alesana said in a video she posted in November. “...It’s been hell. I go to school every day, and I get my lunch, and I sit down alone.”

In a video posted in December, she said that she was going to return to living as a boy, “I’ve had a very hard last couple of weeks,” Alesana said. “I had to go back in the closet and dress like a boy and cut my nails off and cut my hair off. I did this for my own protection. I was being bullied a lot at school.”

Via the LA Times:

Taylor is the second teenager who attended youth support groups at the North County LGBTQ Resource Center [in San Diego] to commit suicide in recent weeks, said the center’s executive director, Max Disposti. Letters and artwork mourning the loss of a teenager named Sage — who killed himself in early March — are still displayed in the center, Disposti said.

“We’re devastated,” Disposti said.

Disposti said he has been in close contact with Taylor’s family and was planning a candlelight vigil for her. Taylor spoke openly about her struggles at school — which continued after she told school staff — and Disposti worried about her, he said.

[...]

“Transgender kids know who they are,” Disposti said. “They are not confused. They are not struggling with their gender identity.”

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Photo of Taylor Alesana via her Instagram.

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DISCUSSION

thisismyseriousface
thisismyseriousface

We had kids start a petition for our transgender students to be allowed to use the staff restroom- we have four in the building- and one of them is in the teacher’s lounge. Someone said it violated FERPA (privacy laws) to have the kid in the teacher’s lounge one with access to student grades being printed out and the rest required keys. So the kids started ANOTHER petition to have the kid given a bathroom key. They asked teachers for support but due to the very political and subjective nature of teacher evaluations keeping everyone in fear, I heard the kids weren’t getting a lot of support from teachers.

I grabbed the student leaders for a lunch meeting and coached them on how to contact legal organizations and gay-rights advocates in our area. We got a few interested lawyers to represent their cause and they sent a legal notice to our district lawyer about how the State Department of Education is looking at these possible violations of Title IX. BAM! We have a new district policy in place to protect our transgender students with their rights to a bathroom. The super is now looking into creating a single stall bathroom as a gender neutral option.

Basically, I love my students. A lot of them got involved when the student wrote a narrative about how many of her friends took for granted the ability to use the restroom without fear and she had to wait for someone to stand outside the restrooms as a form of protection. The kids in that class thought it was total bullshit and wanted to do something.