RaceSex & Gender

nigel shelby isn’t an anomaly, the lgbtq+ youth need us

April 23, 2019
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We’re really hurting over the death of high school freshman Nigel Shelby who died from suicide after relentless bullying over his sexual identity. A beautiful, bright young boy who was taken from the world too soon because of homophobia and bullying and the heinous place where those things intersect.

Unfortunately, the suicide rates for LGBTQ+ teens are higher than their cishet peers. Anywhere from 1.5 to 3.5 times more likely as it is for straight teens suffering from depression and other types of mental illness. It’s even estimated that close to one in four pre-teen suicides might be of LGBTQ+ youths. And when these young people are harassed and abused for their orientation, the likelihood of self-harming behavior increases 2.5 times on average.

When we look at trans youth, the statistics get even more dismal: 40 percent of trans adults have made suicide attempts.

What does this mean for us? That compassion needs to take precedence first and foremost. That love and understanding need to guide the ways in which we interact with each other and how we nurture the youths.

Nigel Shelby didn’t always receive the love and support he deserved. Shelby’s family is raising funds to help with his funeral costs and you can learn more about that here.

We may not have done enough to save Nigel, but there are more teens who are going to need us. We can still make things right by cherishing the queer and gay young people in our lives by showing them unconditional love and stand up against hate.