Michaela Jae Rodriguez
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After Coming Out and Being Bullied, 9-Year-Old Dies by Suicide


A Colorado mother is sharing the story of her 9-year-old son who died by suicide Thursday, just days after coming out to his classmates, Denver's Fox affiliate reports.

Leia Pierce says her son, Jamel Myles, announced he was gay this summer. Pierce said the 9-year-old was terrified, but she reassured her son she still loved him. Myles also expressed an interest in dressing in a more feminine manner when he entered fourth grade in the fall.

Less than a week after he started school and came out to his peers, Myles was dead. 

"Four days is all it took at school," Pierce told the TV station. "I could just imagine what they said to him. My son told my oldest daughter the kids at school told him to kill himself. I'm just sad he didn't come to me. ... I'm so upset that he thought that was his option."

Pierce wants schools to take more action against bullying, and she believes parents should be held responsible if their children torment other students.

Denver Public Schools is providing social workers and a "crisis team" to aid students affected by Myles's death. The Denver Police Department is also investigating the case.

If you are a trans or gender-nonconforming person considering suicide, Trans Lifeline can be reached at (877) 565-8860. LGBTQ youth (ages 24 and younger) can reach the Trevor Project Lifeline at (866) 488-7386. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 can also be reached 24 hours a day by people of all ages and identities.

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