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Young N.C. transgender activist Blake Brockington dies of suicide

Young N.C. transgender activist Blake Brockington dies of suicide
Blake Brockington, then a senior at East Mecklenburg High, holds the fundraising box that later determined his win as homecoming king in February 2014.
Blake Brockington, then a senior at East Mecklenburg High, holds the fundraising box that later determined his win as homecoming king in February 2014. QNotes

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Friends and community members on Tuesday mourned the passing of a Charlotte transgender youth activist, Blake Brockington, who died as the result of suicide overnight.

Brockington, 18, was a 2014 graduate of East Mecklenburg High School where, last year, he was nominated and later crowned homecoming king as an openly transgender student after winning a fundraising competition and drawing in $2,335.55 for a charity chosen by the school.

Brockington’s homecoming win is believed to be the first for an openly transgender student in Charlotte.

Details of Brockington’s passing and any plans for memorials are not yet known. qnotes will provide updates as they become available.

Brockington’s death was confirmed and announced publicly Tuesday morning by Time Out Youth Center, a local LGBT youth services agency where Brockington received support.

Brockington’s death is the second such local incident in recent weeks.

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In the year since his homecoming win and graduation, Brockington became an outspoken advocate, speaking at last year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance event and organizing public rallies and other grassroots campaigns to raise awareness on police brutality and violence.

In one action in December, Brockington led activists in a brief shut down of Independence Square at Trade & Tryon Sts., followed by an impromptu march through Uptown. He and other activists also planned and coordinated a similar action at SouthPark Mall during the Christmas shopping season.

Brockington, who came out as transgender in his sophomore year of high school, was active in East Meck’s band where he served as drum major for two years. He also played on a student club rugby team.

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Blake Brockington
Blake Brockington

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His homecoming victory, he told qnotes at the time, was a way to build awareness and support for other transgender students.

“I honestly feel like this is something I have to do,” Brockington said last year, noting few other transgender male students have had the opportunity.

Brockington said at the time that winning will mean the most for several younger transgender students he had mentored, including a nine-year-old boy.

“He really looks up to me. That’s my heart,” Brockington said of his mentee. “He has support now and he will be able to avoid just about everything I’m going through and I don’t want him to ever have to be scared. I feel like if I do this, that’s one red flag for everybody to say, ‘Nobody should be scared to be themselves and everybody should have an equal opportunity to have an enjoyable high school experience.’”

But the homecoming win came with a price, Brockington told The Charlotte Observerearlier this year.

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“That was single-handedly the hardest part of my trans journey,” Brockington told the daily newspaper. “Really hateful things were said on the Internet. It was hard. I saw how narrow-minded the world really is.”

He had a strong message for the public — “we are still human.”

“I’m still a person,” Brockington said. “And trans people are still people. Our bodies just don’t match what’s up (in our heads). We need support, not people looking down at us or degrading us or overlooking us. We are still human.”

Editor’s Note: If you or a young person you know is LGBT and thinking about suicide, please call The Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386. For adults over 24, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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