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.”
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.”
Photo of Taylor Alesana via her Instagram.