Transgender activist Blake Brockington died overnight in what appears to have been a suicide, police said, according to the Charlotte Observer.
The North Carolina 18-year-old, who was an advocate for sexual-minority rights, transitioned during his sophomore year at East Mecklenburg High School, having previously been known as a girl.
Last year he was crowned homecoming king at his Charlotte, N.C., school.
In an earlier report by the Observer on transgender individuals in Charlotte, Brockington recalled being forced to wear dresses even though he “felt like a boy,” and also discussed the difficulty he had coming out to his family.
“My family feels like this is a decision I made,” Brockington said at the time. “They think, ‘You’re already black, why would you want to draw more attention to yourself?’ But it’s not a decision. It is who I am. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.”
His situation at home ended up becoming so bad that he opted to move in with a foster family, who supported him through his transition.
“I’m still a person,” Brockington added during his prior interview. “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.”
According to the Observer, funeral arrangements for Brockington have not yet been finalized.