SAN DIEGO (AP) — A 16-year-old transgender girl who spoke on YouTube about being bullied at school in San Diego killed herself, a support group said, raising questions about what educators can and should do to support students who change gender identity.
Taylor Alesana was constantly picked on by peers before taking her life last week, the North County LGBTQ Resource Center said.
“With few adults to turn to, and with no support from her school, her life became too difficult,” the group said. “Taylor was a beautiful and courageous girl, and all she wanted was acceptance.”
Alesana attended meetings at the center and was very supportive of other transgender teens, said Max Disposti, the group’s executive director. She posted a series of online videos describing her daily experiences and struggles.
Alesana had a strong relationship with her counselor at Fallbrook High School, north of San Diego, but school administrators “didn’t take the necessary steps,” Disposti said Friday. They never contacted his organization, even after a Thursday night vigil at its Oceanside office that was attended by Alesana’s parents and about 200 others, he said.
Fallbrook Union High School District Superintendent Hugo Pedroza said in a statement that a student died tragically on April 2. “It is never easy when something like this happens, but we are working to move forward together and stronger than before,” he said.
Alesana is the second transgender teen who sought services at the North County LGBTQ Resource Center to die by suicide since March, Disposti said. A boy who took his life last month had a supportive environment at home and school, but he struggled with other issues, including his mother’s death.
Alesana was unusually vocal about the challenges of being a transgender teen.
“She was very outspoken and had incredibly positive energy,” Disposti said. “She was helping others as she was struggling.”
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