Last week a 13-year-old boy in Trussville took his own life after battling with depression and anxiety. Jay Griffin, a seventh grader at Trussville Middle School, was transgender.
Jay’s mother, Erin Georgia, said she began realizing her son was born in the wrong body half way through the sixth grade. “There was a transition from long hair, and he started dressing differently,” she told AL.com in an interview.
Jay was an advocate for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community and volunteered at the Magic City Acceptance Center in Birmingham, a group dedicated to providing “a safe, supportive and affirming space for LBGTQ youth, young adults and their allies.” In lieu of sending flowers, Jay’s parents asked family and friends to donate to the Magic City Acceptance Center in his honor.
As Jay was struggling to express his own gender identity, he was unable to find the support he needed in his hometown of Trussville. “He didn’t feel validated or accepted in our community,” his mother Erin said.
“You really need a safe space of allies and advocates and people that are like you. That’s where they hear their true voices. There are no local community safe spaces that I know of, and we’ve looked. That was part of Jay’s struggle.”