North Carolina Community Mourns Trans Homecoming King

Photo: via @TyreeBP.
An 18-year-old Charlotte, N.C. trans man is being remembered by friends and family as an activist and inspiration after he took his own life Monday. Blake Brockington gained national attention when he became the state's first out trans homecoming king. After graduating from East Mecklenburg High School, he dedicated himself to speaking out for the rights of LGBT youth and young people of color. Brockington also participated in Black Lives Matter protests and projects focused on social and racial justice, according to The Advocate. Memorial service details have not yet been announced. Time Out Youth, a Charlotte-based LGBT support center, has been offering counseling services since confirming Brockington's death on Tuesday morning.  Brockington's suicide is part of a tragic larger national trend. According to data from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, 41% of trans and gender non-comforming people have attempted suicide in their lifetimes. Earlier this year, Brockington spoke about his experience transitioning and coming out in a Charlotte Observer story about being young and trans in Charlotte. At the time, he said that being named homecoming king led to a lot of stress and negative attention. “Really hateful things were said on the Internet," he told the Observer. "It was hard. I saw how narrow-minded the world really is.” As LGBT issues — and the experiences of trans people in particular — have become more visible in the past year, the trans community's staggering suicide rates have also received more attention. Brockington is the sixth known trans victim of suicide this year, and the second in the Charlotte area. Ash Hafner, 16, passed away in February. This visibility has also created opportunities for trans youth to come out, call out discrimination, and seek suppport. In a video that's been going viral this week, 13-year-old Tom Sosnik came out to his sixth grade classmates, and offered to help them understand what he was going through, in a moving speech. For more stories about the lives and rights of transgender Americans, check out our Trans America series here

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