Fifteen year old Zander Mahaffey committed suicide on Sunday the 15th of February, leaving a suicide none of the social network Tumblr.
Zander, who was from Austell, Georgia, posted a suicide note online that stated his mother as one of the main reasons for his suicide. In a angry and gut wrenching final message Zander describes his mothers refusal to accept him and verbal and psychological abuse, along with being sexually assaulted, as the reason why he no longer had the strength to go on.
In his note Zander shared incidents of his mothers abuse and left messages of farewell to family and friends.
Despite being misgendered in memorial posts by family and friends, a number of his friends have set up a blog for people to leave their memories for the young man he really was. Since his death the hashtag #HisNameWasZander has reached over 7000 mentions by people all over the world who want the world to know who he really was.
One can’t hear about Zanders death and not remember the tragedy of Leelah Alcorn, who similarly posted a suicide not online before taking her own life. Sadly, suicide rates amongst transgender people are staggering, with a recent survey by Pace finding that 48% of trans people have attempted suicide.
With such high numbers of trans people attempting suicide, and so many transgender youths having to face difficult home lives I doubt Zander will be the last transgender teenager to die this way.
It’s important to remember though that there are many suicide hotlines that are capable of helping people in Zander’s situation, and some of these have been tweeted alongside the hashtag #HisNameWasZander in an attempt to raise awareness of the help available to those people who feel that they have no hope left to them.
Please, those of you who are reading this, take the time to look at the helplines that exist, share them with the hashtag #HisNameWasZander and try to help save the life of the next transgender child that looses the strength to carry on the fight alone.