Pioneering Trans Teen Activist Lost To Suicide
18-year old pioneering trans teen Blake Brockington has died from suicide. Blake became a national figure when he was named homecoming king of East Mecklenberg High School in Charlotte -- the first such honor for a trans high schooler in North Carolina.
“I honestly feel like this is something I have to do,” Blake said in 2014 as he ran for the title.
Following the honor, Blake became on "outspoken advocate for the North Carolina transgender community."
Brockington, who came out as transgender in his sophomore year of high school, was active in East Meck’s band where he served as drum major for two years. He also played on a student club rugby team.
East Mecklenburg High School teacher Martha Deiss, whom Brockington had for a civics and economics course his sophomore year, said last year that he was one of her brightest students.
“A great student,” Deiss said of Brockington. “Always had the highest grades.”
His homecoming victory, he told qnotes at the time, was a way to build awareness and support for other transgender students.
Brockington said at the time that winning will mean the most for several younger transgender students he had mentored, including a nine-year-old boy.
“He really looks up to me. That’s my heart,” Brockington said of his mentee. “He has support now and he will be able to avoid just about everything I’m going through and I don’t want him to ever have to be scared. I feel like if I do this, that’s one red flag for everybody to say, ‘Nobody should be scared to be themselves and everybody should have an equal opportunity to have an enjoyable high school experience.’”
But winning the crown had a dark side.
“That was single-handedly the hardest part of my trans journey,” Brockington told the daily newspaper. “Really hateful things were said on the Internet. It was hard. I saw how narrow-minded the world really is.”
He had a strong message for the public — “we are still human.”
“I’m still a person,” Brockington said. “And trans people are still people. Our bodies just don’t match what’s up (in our heads). We need support, not people looking down at us or degrading us or overlooking us. We are still human.”
Blake's death was confirmed by the youth center where he worked. Grief counselors have been made available for employees and youth struggling through what is undoubtedly a dark time.
If you or someone you know needs help, visit the TrevorProject or call 1-866-488-7386.