Young transgender activist Blake Brockington mourned

Time Out Youth Center is open to clients today with staff and counselors available for support

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Friends and community members are today mourning the passing of a local 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.

Arrangements for Brockington’s funeral were announced by family on Wednesday. A service will be held this Saturday, March 28, 2015, Noon, at Nazarene Baptist Church, 4383 Savannah Highway, in Ravenel, S.C. The Rev. Wilford Waring will officiate. Interment is private. The family will not hold a viewing.

Friends of Brockington and others in Charlotte are planning a community memorial event, likely to be planned for next Saturday, April 4; further details will be announced soon.

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.

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The center is working to ensure other youth and staff receive needed support. Executive Director Rodney Tucker said youth members and clients had been at their center since 9 a.m. Tuesday morning. A counselor was on hand to speak with staff and available to youth and clients throughout the day.

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

Young activist wanted change

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.

East Mecklenburg High School teacher Martha Deiss, whom Brockington had for a civics and economics course his sophomore year, said last year that he was one of her brightest students.

“A great student,” Deiss said of Brockington. “Always had the highest grades.”

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.

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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 Observer earlier this year.

“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.”

Need support?

Those youth in need of support are encouraged to contact Time Out Youth,timeoutyouth.org, 704-344-8335. Their center is located at 2320-A N. Davidson St. They are open Tuesday and have staff and counselors available.

Those youth in need of immediate support can call the Trevor Project helpline at 1-866-488-7386 or access resources online at thetrevorproject.org.

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Posted by Matt Comer

Matt Comer is a staff writer for QNotes. He previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015.

26 Replies to “Young transgender activist Blake Brockington mourned”

  1. Such a shame. Suicide is most often a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Survivors can suffer a lot of guilt and it is hoped they will seek proper counsel and support while mourning their loss.

    1. Well if that wasn’t a judgmental thing to say, I don’t know what could be. What’s wrong with you, anyway, thinking it’s alright to say stuff like that?! Being trans isn’t a problem, being judged for it is, and that’s not a temporary thing in this stupid world. Also, suicide isn’t something done to others, so there are no “survivors” of it when it happens and the person attempting suicide is successful. You don’t get to decide who does or doesn’t need counseling. Get over your judgmental self already and stop throwing your surreptitious hate around on the Internet. It’s not welcome here.

      1. I don’t know Jimmy Locke or CD, or Blake in fact, but like both of you, I mourn the loss of a young man who had already broken so many barriers. I don’t hear any hate in Jimmy’s comment, more the voice of sorrow and experience. Suicide really does leave victims behind–the family and friends who will forever wonder if they could have done something different. The problem is often despair and discouragement –sometimes exhaustion & depression—those are the problems that are temporary. So sorry for the loss to his community and the world.

      2. I think you misinterpreted the above comment. The ‘survivors’ are the individuals who loved Blake who are left behind. His parents, siblings, and close friends, for example. They most definitely are ‘survivors’ and they are hurting deeply now, and possibly questioning whether there was something they could have done to help him and prevent the tragedy of suicide. I’m sure that is what Jimmy Locke was referring to. It wasn’t mean and judgemental. He was expressing empathy for the loved ones.

      3. CD, as a survivor of suicide (this is what we call our selves – the family and loved ones of people who have died tragically by suicide) I think maybe in your excruciating pain you misunderstood something,that was said in peace. Survivors, the ones left behind when a beautiful life is lost, talk about permanent solutions (death) to temporary problems (things that can be solved without loss of one’s life) It was in no way minimizing the trauma, the tragedy, the grief or the pain.
        This is a true loss for all of us. And my sincerest condolences to his family, his friends, and all that are grieving this tremendous loss of life. ♡

      4. When I read his comment. I didn’t take it like that. Suicide affects everyone particular the person they loved who decided to do it. It is as if a part of them died. They are left with the why questions and how could I have prevented this or even blaming theirselves. And the “temporary problem” I read as the problem of people’s opinions and the self hate. Hating yourself so much that you decide to kill yourself. Every person was created for a purpose and if a person feels that horrible then yes they should go to counseling. And counseling is needed just for everyday life because people are cruel. Killing yourself is never the solution.

      5. speaking of judgmental you assumed jimmy meant Transgender I didn’t seem him post that any where. I don’t think that what he trying to say that it was being transgender was the problem at all. but i am sure Blake many problems to try and over come. Blake was person i am sure there was long list of problems in his life like every person has. why do we have to label people why is it Blake the transgender why cant it just be Blake the you man you committed suicide. He was person just like anyone else. Seems he was incredible person at that.

    2. Not all suicides are responses to “temporary” problems. Blake would probably be transgendered for the rest of his life and there’s no guarantee society will ever be fully accepting. That said, it’s too bad that he could not look to a future where things might get better and his ability to cope would improve over time. Sadly, the development of the prefrontal cortex is often too slow to keep up with life and its problems.

      RIP, Blake.

      1. I agree with Vonnie. Not all suicides are the *wrong* answer to the problem, and judging someone to be *wrong* for making that decision is missing many, many subtle points. This young man probably would have been able to beat his problems if he had not taken his life. I wish, his family wishes, everyone wishes that he would have sought out help in defeating his unhappiness, isolation, fear, and suffering. However, that help was not there, and in his mind, there was one SURE way to end the pain he was in. He happened to be right; in a way that no one else could guarantee, whatever their solution, he managed to end the pain he was in, permanently.

  2. My heart goes out to the family and friends of Blake. He was a frequent visitor at my house because he and my daughter were friends. I have taken much interest in Blake’s struggles and I am heartbroken that he chose to surrender to the fight of being overwhelmed with grief from narrow-minded individuals that make it hard for people such as Blake to be just who they are..human. We as a people need to really take a look at the importance of self-determination and not pass judgement on the LGBT community. Doing so, continues to place people of the LGBT community in a state of isolation and hopelessness. I, too had to come to terms that people are different and their choices don’t always match ours, but we need to embrace each other and see that its the difference that make this world unique and interesting. How many more youth do we have to lose before we take a stand to end this horrific tragedy from continuing. Rest in peace Blake. Love you.

    1. Our society has placed far too great a burden on it’s children and young adults. I’m so sorry to learn of his pain and his passing. I’m thankful for all the excellent work that he did do! It’s good to read about how hard he worked to make a real difference. <3

  3. What a sham Blake had his life a head of him,so young to die not . May Blake R.I.P. and perple who he touched there lives may they find peace. Blake is in the arms of God now but he is still with the people he knew as being in there heart.

  4. I had the great pleasure of knowing Blake through my daughter and what an amazing young person. My heart is breaking right now not only for his family and friends but that someone could be so sad that suicide seemed like the only option.

  5. Robert Kellogg March 24, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    This is so tragic on so many levels. First and foremost another young transgender life has ended before it barely got started. The hopelessness that one must feel to make that decision makes me beyond sad. I am heartbroken for our LGBTQ youth. It is also tragic that while the young people in our world are starting to progress in more accepting actions, many of the adults in our society continue to send a conflicting message. We love you but…There should be no if ands or buts in unconditional love. The work and the journey continues…RIP Blake!

  6. I had the pleasure of meet this kid and I am outraged at the state. He was (like me) a productive of Mecklenburg county foster care. He age out and attempted to sign himself back in. However he was not a priority to the county and so ignored and left to be homeless sleeping on couches and struggling to survive. He spoke for people who don’t have much of a voice in society, BUT WHO WAS SPEAKING FOR HIM!!! I AM OUTRAGED! His emotional health and quality of life could have been vastly improved if he was heard.

  7. Blake was a good friend but an even better person, which says a lot to anyone who knew his friendship. He was an incredibly hard worker and put his best into everything that he did. He was so intentional in making people feel like they were someone of value and importance and when he hugged you, he literally picked you up. He was a person that made your life better simply by being in it. Rest in peace, Blake.

  8. This is so heartbreaking!!!

  9. Sad story. Rest in peace little dude.

  10. in such short time- we became friends. He was so gentle and kind to strangers, and always trying to get groups to join “the fight” together. He was well rounded and opened my eyes to so many different things- and he will definitely be missed. You touched me deeply- we will meet again someday .

  11. I don’t know Blake, but I heard his story on Tumblr and I am so saddened. It is horrible that again and again kids are unable to find acceptance in society and lose the will to live. People need to realize that LGBTQ kids (just the same as anyone else) deserve support and love. RIP Blake <3

  12. Deacon Robin D Jewell March 24, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    Until we rally around our youth & begin to support them we will continue to lose them. Your fears become their faults of not being accepted as a person. God don’t make mistakes & is the creator of us all. Respect, acceptance, & love is what is needed to assure them there is a place in this world for ALL of GOD’s children regardless of your faith in the Higher Power. “I am what God says I Am” not who you want me to be. My heart goes out to the family & friends that loved him for who he let you see. Cherish the memory. God bless & strengthen you in this time of sorrow. Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal.

  13. It makes me ill that people are fighting here, even if it was “just:” the first 2 posts (you’ll excuse me for not reading more, I have been through too much sadness and loss lately AND it is my JOB to keep my own mother from making this same choice – I need some peace)

    We don’t get to be mad. We have to be sad and we have to do better. This was a young persona nd young people DON’T always understand, on some level, that death is permanent.

    How about aside from not “judging” (so tired of that word, it is thrown around so much it hits the wrong people often), we also don’t become the Judgement Police. Just be sad, do what you can do to keep this from happening again, and please keep Blake’s family in your prayers. And for Pete’s sake, quit the damn quarreling, this is beyond inappropriate. People are grieving.

  14. Thank you for writing so sensitively about this! Instead of focusing on the heartbreaking aspects of this tragedy, you highlighted Blake’s life and the awesome work he did for our community. Let us be strengthened in our commitment to justice and strive to honor Blake’s life through our actions and support of one another.

  15. I am so sad to read this article. Another young person gone as a result of this judgmental world.

    My heartfelt condolences to Blake’s friends, family if they were supportive of him, and to all the people who were touched by Blake’s all-too-short existence.

    Dear God, please let everyone look at themselves in the mirror and say “Was I a part of what happened to this wonderful young man?”

    Rest in peace, Blake. :'(

  16. Blake will definitely be missed but never forgotten, I knew Blake for so many years and soon just started calling him my little cousin at a young age. He made a world of difference in so many lives. I just talked to Blake not too long ago, and everything “seemed” to be okay, but everything is not always as it seems. Blake Brockington I love you hunny!! Just wish I could’ve said goodbye.

  17. Though I never had the opportunity to meet Blake, I know that he touched many lives deeply. I was referred to this site by one of the many people that crossed Blake’s path, and she spoke of his loss with great sorrow, but she also spoke of his many achievements. It is always tragic when a young life is differed, perhaps even more so when you realize that it was preventable.

    As such, it is even more imperative that his message of hope lives on. Thank you Blake, for the gifts your short life bestowed RIP

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