*Blake Brockington made history last year. At the age of 18, the transgender activist made headlines after being crowned Homecoming King at his Charlotte, North Carolina, high school. But now the The Charlotte Observer has reported he is dead from an apparent suicide.
The news was confirmed to The Huffington Post by Time Out Youth Center, a local LGBT support center where Brockington was a client.
“He was seen as a leader in the LGBT movement and social justice movement,” said Rodney Tucker, executive director at the center. “We are all in shock and grieving here.”
After winning the crown Brockington told the local media, “…I’ve always wanted this, always, and everybody has always told me I couldn’t do it.” Even though you go through some things, and you have some negative encounters in your life, anything is possible, you can do anything you set your heart to.” Brockington made history last year when he became the first transgender homecoming king in North Carolina.
“Throughout my life, I haven’t really been treated equally as a male, so I’ve always wanted this, always, and everybody has always told me I couldn’t do it,” he told a local NBC affiliate at the time. “Even though you go through some things, and you have some negative encounters in your life, anything is possible, you can do anything you set your heart to.”
Brockington, who said he “always felt male,” came out to the public as transgender in the 10th grade.
The young man’s story was published in January by the Observer, and he spoke of his struggles and urged other trans youth to reach out for support.
“I would love for a lot of the trans youth to know that they are not alone and this is a large community,” he said in a video accompanying the article.
Brockington was dealt a harsh blow online following his win, with a lot of posts saying cruel things to and about him. He described the toll that online comments had on him as well.
“That was single-handedly the hardest part of my trans journey,” he said. “Really hateful things were said on the Internet. It was hard. I saw how narrow-minded the world really is.”
Watch Brockington speak after being crowned homecoming king: