Jamel PierceAge 9
23 Aug 2018
Denver, Colorado (USA)
Jamel Pierce died by suicide just four days after coming out as gay at school. Despite coming out as gay, it looks like Jamel may have been evolving towards a trans identity.
Over the summer, his mom said he came out to her as gay.
"And he looked so scared when he told me. He was like, 'Mom, I’m gay.' And I thought he was playing, so I looked back because I was driving, and he was all curled up, so scared. And I said, 'I still love you'," Pierce said.
Pierce said her son wanted to tell his classmates.
"He went to school and said he was gonna tell people he’s gay because he’s proud of himself," she said.
Pierce said when he came out, he opened up about wanting to dress more femininely.
"And he goes, 'Can I be honest with you?'" Pierce said. "And I was like sure, and he’s like, 'I know you buy me boy stuff because I’m a boy, but I’d rather dress like a girl.'"
On Thursday, four days into the school year, Jamel took his own life. Pierce found her son dead in their Denver home. She said he killed himself after being bullied.
"Four days is all it took at school. I could just imagine what they said to him," Pierce said. "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."
We can't know whether Jamel would have eventually come out as trans, but that quote suggests they might well have. Either way, bullying kills - and no child should ever feel the need to take their own life.