13-year-old trans boy dies by suicide
A 13-year-old transgender boy from the US has taken his life after a long battle with depression.
Jay Griffin, from Alabama, began his transition at age 11 when he was in sixth grade.
Griffin, who was a talented Clarinet player, was described as “funny, sensitive, artistic, intelligent and openly trans.”
The teen, who was been called an “advocate for the LGBT community, took his life and was found by his parents on May 25.
Griffin’s parents, Matt and Erin Georgia, have since spoken about their son’s suicide and called for greater acceptance of the trans community.
His mother, Erin, explained that they were strong Christians who “loved and accepted” their son.
“We’ve always just loved and accepted our children for whoever they are.
“I’m a very outspoken, tattooed Christian, very strong in my faith. We were just encouraging Jay. I would notice things as a mother and was like, ‘Hey, anything you want to talk to me about, I’m here’.”
Griffin’s parents believe that Jay had been bullied, which is something they think could have been prevented if equality and diversity were promoted in education.
“The real point is we need to promote the education of diversity. Not just for the children, because the children get it. We need to reach out to parents.
“As children, they’re put in these public places they’re required to be in,” Erin added.
Griffin suffered from anxiety and depression but was in therapy and on medication.
His father explained that Jay came out at his own pace and was accepted in their church but “he didn’t feel validated or accepted in our community’.
‘We’re so adamant about what we believe and we should be passionate about our beliefs.
“But it’s when we start judging and excluding people because of our beliefs that we get into trouble.
“I think that is where Jay fought most of his demons,” Matt added.
Now, both of Griffin’s parents hope that they can raise awareness about transgender children and increase acceptance, especially within religious communities.
R.g. Wilson-Lyons, who spoke at Griffin’s funeral, explained: “I can’t think of a more important message that we as followers of Jesus have to share with the world than that. Friends, we live in a world where gay and lesbian youth are 4 times more likely to attempt suicide than straight youth.
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“And 40% of transgendered persons attempt suicide at some point in their life – that’s compared to 4% of the non-transgendered population.
“Beyond issues of gender identity and sexuality, we live in a culture where our young people are constantly told they are not smart enough, not athletic enough, not pretty enough, not enough.
“Far, far too often, when people believe that they are not accepted, that there is not a place at the table for them, it so often leads to tragedy and death.”
Suicide is preventable. Readers who are affected by the issues raised in this story are encouraged to contact Samaritans on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org), or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk). Readers in the US are encouraged to contact the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255.
Mindline Trans+ helpline is open every Monday & Friday between 8pm 11pm on 0300 330 5468. It is for anybody who identifies as Trans, or their allies, who may be struggling with any kind of issue or just feels isolated.