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Wisconsin Teen Commits Suicide Days After Coming Out as Transgender

Cameron

Cameron Langrell, a 15-year-old freshman from Racine, Wisconsin committed suicide last week days after coming out as transgender on Facebook.

Cameron's parents believe bullying at school was a contributing factor in the suicide.

The Racine Journal Times has more on the tragedy (note: male-pronouns are used to refer to Cameron):

Last Thursday his mother, Jamie Olender, and stepfather, Eric Olender, came home shocked to find that Cameron had taken his own life in the basement sometime that day.

“There were absolutely zero warning signs,” Jamie Olender said. “He busted out all the lights and his intent was clear.”

He loved to play piano. He also loved dance. Singing was his passion and next year he was set to join the school choir. He would have loved being a high school cheerleader. He wanted to try out for “American Idol.”

“He was always bullied for being feminine,” Jamie Olender said. “We told him to be who you are.”

Cameron’s parents knew their child was unique since he was a toddler. “Ever since he was very little, we knew Cameron felt differently,” she said. “He used to dance, twirl, sing and was all about that kind of attention. His brother would be in a football game and he would try to get people to notice his dance routine.”

OlenderWISN 12 adds Jamie and Eric (right) want the school district to do more to combat bullying. “There needs to be more within the school, not just some outside resource. It needs to be taught in school,” Jamie said.

A spokeswoman for the district released the following statement: "We are heartbroken by the loss of Cameron. Our district crisis team has stepped up to provide support for all of our Horlick students, staff and families these past several days. We have programs in place to ensure all students have a positive place to learn.
We will continue to work with our entire Horlick family to enhance these programs."

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help with financial burdens on Cameron's family. 


Federal Judge Who Struck Down Kentucky's Ban on Gay Marriage Dies

U.S. District Court Judge John G. Heyburn, who ordered in February 2014 that out-of-state same-sex marriages be recognized in Kentucky and five months later struck down the state's gay marriage ban in a separate ruling, has died at age 66, Reuters reports:

HeyburnHeyburn died at his Louisville home surrounded by family after a years-long battle with cancer, the U.S. District Court for Western Kentucky said in a statement.

Here is a bit from Heyburn's equal protection analysis in Love v. Beshear:

The Court will begin with Defendant’s only asserted justification for Kentucky’s laws prohibiting same-sex marriage: “encouraging, promoting, and supporting the formation of relationships that have the natural ability to procreate.” Perhaps recognizing that procreation-based arguments have not succeeded in this Court, nor any other court post-Windsor, Defendant adds a disingenuous twist to the argument: traditional marriages contribute to a stable birth rate which, in turn, ensures the state’s long-term economic stability.

These arguments are not those of serious people. Though it seems almost unnecessary to explain, here are the reasons why. Even assuming the state has a legitimate interest in promoting procreation, the Court fails to see, and Defendant never explains, how the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage has any effect whatsoever on procreation among heterosexual spouses. Excluding same-sex couples from marriage does not change the number of heterosexual couples who choose to get married, the number who choose to have children, or the number of children they have.

You can read our legal editor Ari Ezra Waldman's analysis of his ruling here.

Heyburn was appointed by President George H.W. Bush in 1992 at the recommendation of now-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.


Transgender Game Developer Commits Suicide After Enduring Persistent Cyberbullying

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 10.08.48 AM

A transgender game developer committed suicide by jumping from the George Washington Bridge last Thursday after enduring abuse from online trolls, Vocativ.com reports

Developer Rachel Bryk, who suffered chronic pain from rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia, published a comment on a 4chan forum saying that she chose to withdraw from various sites after suffering persistent transphobic comments from fellow users. 

Just days before her death, Bryk wrote several suicide comments with other users mockingly responding to her with comments such as "jumping off a bridge isn’t rocket science," and, "good riddance." Bryk's work on Wii emulators earned her a supportive following online; her followers created memorial posts online in her honor with tributes to her work and prompting discussions of transphobia in online communities after Bryk's death. Bryk’s suicide follows the suicide of Fallbrook, Calif. trans teen Taylor Alesena on April 2 who posted a video to YouTube addressing the transphobia she faced at school.

(Photo via Facebook)


Popular Bengali TV Actress Takes Life After Being Confronted About Female Lover

GangulyAccording to a local police report Disha Ganguly, a popular Bengali television actress, committed suicide after months of being pressured to break up with her girlfriend, another Indian TV star. It is unclear whether Ganguly openly identified as a queer woman, but she was also romantically tied to Vivan Ghosh, a man that Ganguly’s parents insist that she was married to.

“A few months back, this actress friend of Ganguly, started staying at her apartment,” police authorities explained. “Soon, Ganguly’s mother arrived from Nairobi and objected to their relationship. Her mother even got her friend to move out of the apartment.”

Those close to Ganguly have stated that her girlfriend and Ghosh had been seen fighting in the days prior to Ganguly’s suicide, though the exact events that led to it are unclear. Before killing herself Ganguly made sure to transfer Rs.50,000 into a bank account that she shared with her girlfriend.

In the hours after news of Ganguly’s death broke, her girlfriend also attempted to take her own life by throwing herself onto the train tracks at Howrah, the largest train station in India. The woman was saved and is currently being treated for minor injuries at a nearby hospital.


Model Behind Norman Rockwell's 'Rosie the Riveter' Dies at Age 92

Keefe
(screenshot)

Mary Doyle Keefe, the model that served as the basis for Norman Rockwell's iconic "Rosie the Riveter" has died this week at her home in Simsbury, Connecticut at the age of 92, CNN reports:

RosieAs a 19-year-old telephone operator, Keefe posed for the famous painting that would become the cover of the Saturday Evening Post on May 29, 1943.

Although she was petite, Keefe was transformed into the iconic -- and burly -- embodiment of the character by Rockwell.

"Other than the red hair and my face, Norman Rockwell embellished Rosie's body," Keefe said in a 2012 interview with the Hartford Currant. "I was much smaller than that and did not know how he was going to make me look like that until I saw the finished painting."

Keefe pocked $10 for the two mornings of modeling work she did in Arlington, Vermont. Rockwell lived in neighboring West Arlington at the time.

Watch a video report on the story, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Model Behind Norman Rockwell's 'Rosie the Riveter' Dies at Age 92" »


Bullied Transgender California Teen Dies In Apparent Suicide: VIDEO

Taylor Alesena

A Fallbrook, California trans teen who spoke on YouTube about being the victim of bullying has taken her own life, reports ABC 10 News.

In a video posted last November, Taylor Alesena talked about her loneliness at Fallbrook High School, saying "I've lost friends - tons of friends - and it's been hell.”

Max Disposit, executive director of the North County LGBTQ Resource Center in Oceanside, said that Taylor was constantly cyber-bullied and called names in school but nothing changed when she complained to counselors.

The Fallbrook Union High School District issued the following statement:

"One of Fallbrook High School's students tragically passed away during the spring break, on Thursday, April 2.

“We are attempting to honor the family's request for privacy while also helping our students and staff who have been impacted by this sad event. The district has had counselors on site to support our school community.

“Fallbrook High has a continuum of appropriate services (social, emotional, academic) to ensure every student is supported and successful at Fallbrook High School. It is never easy when something like this happens, but we are working to move forward together and stronger than before."

Last month 16-year-old North Carolina trans teen Ashlyn Haffner died close to his family’s Indian Trail home when he stepped into the path of an oncoming vehicle, the same way Ohio transgender teen Leelah Alcorn died in December of last year.

Watch an ABC 10 report on Taylor’s death, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Bullied Transgender California Teen Dies In Apparent Suicide: VIDEO" »


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