Meet Chloe Lacey (born Justin Lacey). Days before her 19th birthday, Chloe shot and killed herself while away at school on Sept. 24.
From the story:
Chloe Lacey was born Justin Lacey and seemed to her parents to be "all boy" until, at age 16, she announced to her family that she was transgendered. Though it was not evident to those around her, Chloe explained that even in kindergarten she had identified as a girl, the article said.
Chloe kept her identity a closely held secret while attending Buchanan High School, the article said. "Justin did not allow ’Chloe’ to come out at Buchanan at all," said Chloe’s mother, Allison Murphy, who described her child’s "feeling like you don’t... can’t talk about it to anybody because nobody will understand."
The article said that Chloe was not bullied, but that she suffered depression and anxiety because of pressure to "fit in" according to preexisting social expectations. Chloe sought treatment from mental health professionals, but refused the drugs that her therapists recommended.
After high school, Chloe found a measure of acceptance and happiness, her stepfather, Sean Dempsey, told the media. "There was friendship, there was peace, there some happiness, and she loved that."
But Chloe began to despair that she would never fully realize her own identity, feeling "like there is no way this is ever going to happen for me, so why am I here," Murphy said.
And the difference in perspective was remarkable when "Chloe" was able to express herself more freely.
Dempsey [her stepfather] says, "There was friendship, there was peace, there some happiness, and she loved that."
Justin slowly began to dress as "Chloe" while living in Eureka but lacked the confidence to do so outside the safety of home.
Murphy [her mother] says the process to fully transform into "Chloe", which could take 10 years or more, began to take its toll which became "really overwhelming" with regard to the already prevalent anxiety and depression.
So, Murphy proceeded to set up therapy sessions for "Chloe" but despite seeing several therapists, her outlook grew more grim.
Murphy says she was completely hopeless "...like there is no way this is ever going to happen for me, so why am I here."
Their greatest fear was realized on September 24, 2010, when Justin "Chloe" committed suicide.
A memorial fund has been set up in Justin "Chloe" Lacey's name.
Donations can be made by sending them to The Justin "Chloe" Lacey Memorial Fund, c/o EEOC, PO Box 5242, Fresno, CA, 93655.
Contributions will be funneled into a non-profit organization that Murphy and Dempsey plan to launch in Justin "Chloe's" memory to encourage awareness and acceptance of the transgender community, especially the youth.