More than a week after her 14-year-old son, Kyler Prescott, took his own life insider their home in San Diego, Calif., the transgender teen's mother opened up to local media about the bullying her son was enduring days before his death.
Unable to hold back tears, Katherine Prescott, 47, told San Diego TV station KGTV's Michael Chen that her trans son started cutting himself after he was bullied by users on social media site, Kik, who allegedly said that because Kyler was transgender, he shouldn't be alive.
"The passing of my son was the most devastating, terrible thing that could ever happen to any parent," Prescott said. "But I want to use my pain now to help make change for the better and to help spread support, understanding and awareness trans youth and their families need."
The Prescott family was supportive of the 14-year-old, who reportedly came out to family and friends "a few years ago." Being careful not to place the blame for her son's death solely on any single factor, Prescott did highlight the toll taken by a lack of awareness and sensitivity her son encountered on a regular basis.
"One issue that my son faced and a lot of other trans kids faced is being misgendered all the time," Prescott told KGTV. "A lot of people around him had a hard time changing the pronouns they used, and he felt stabbed in the heart every time someone would say 'she.' It's really traumatic to keep getting called something you truly feel you're not.
"People keep saying it's hard to remember and you have to remind them, but it's really not that hard," she added of using a trans person's preferred pronouns. "Once someone has stated their preference for a pronoun, you just need to get behind them and let go of all your preconceived notions about genders."
Watch as a devastated parent of a trans child copes with this tragic loss:
Prescott’s death is the third reported trans young person to die by suicide in the greater San Diego area since March. Taylor Alesana, a 16-year-old transgender girl, took her life on April 2, while a gender-nonconforming teenager named Sage, also died by suicide in early March. Both Alesana and Sage were reportedly involved with the North County LGBTQ Resource Center, where Prescott also attended various group meetings.
Nationwide, Prescott is the 11th reported suicide of a transgender youth this year, in an “epidemic” that trans advocates say sees far more casualties than make headlines. Earlier this month, 15-year-old Cameron Langrell of Racine, Wis., took her own life just days after coming out as trans on social media. The highly publicized suicides of 18-year-old Charlotte, N.C., activist Blake Brockington, as well as that of 17-year-old trans girl Leelah Alcorn in Union Township, Ohio, last December, saw hundreds of thousands mourning worldwide.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the Prescott family offset funeral costs.
If you are a trans or gender-nonconforming person considering suicide, Trans Lifeline can be reached at 877-565-8860. LGBT youth (ages 24 and younger) can reach the Trevor Project Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 can also be reached 24 hours a day by people of all ages and identities.