A high school teenager died by suicide after being the target of homophobic bullying, according to reports that began to surface over the weekend on Facebook.
What We Know:
- Nigel Shelby, a student at Huntsville High School in Huntsville, Alabama, was reportedly 15 at the time of his death.
- According to the Center for Social Equity, 74 percent of LGBTQ+ youth say they don’t feel safe at school. In Alabama specifically, according to locals there are no state-level protections for LGBTQ+ students in Alabama.
- A GoFundMe account has been created to help Shelby’s mother with funeral expenses. The $10,000 goal on a GoFundMe GoFundMe campaign had already been surpassed by more than $4,000 as of Monday morning. A candlelight vigil was also held in the Huntsville area on Sunday night.
“Suicide in Black youth is on the rise and has reportedly reached twice that of White youth,” Nadia M. Richardson of the organization No More Martyrs wrote in a tribute on Facebook. “Unfortunately, for evidence of this, you don’t have to look much further than the state of Alabama. I graduated from Huntsville High. I am still processing this loss. We have so much to understand and so much work to do. Racism, sexism, homophobia, classism; all of that plays a part. Bullying is a by product of a world ill equipped to include that which is deemed different.”
If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or suicidal, contact The Trevor Project’s Trevor Lifeline 24/7/365 at 1-866-488-7386. Counseling is also available 24/7/365 via chat everyday at TheTrevorProject.org/help or by texting 678-678.