Grieving mother says transgender son was bullied online

VISTA, Calif. - A heartbroken mother is opening up, after her 14-year-old son became the third local transgender teen to commit suicide in the last few months.

Katharine Prescott spoke to us before Friday’s memorial service for her son.

“I feel so broken inside. I feel like my soul has been ripped from my body,” said Prescott.

The son who made her whole first sank into depression about two years ago.

“He started cutting himself,” said Prescott.

Born female, Kyler told his family he identified as a boy.

“I embraced him the moment he told me,” said Prescott.

His family supported him, but as puberty began, Kyler’s depression deepened.

“It was agony for him to undress and shower. He was trapped in the wrong body,” said Prescott.

Kyler's family sought out support groups, counseling and hormone blockers. For the last year, Kyler stopped cutting himself.                          

Kyler - a talented pianist and artist, and an avid animal lover - was enjoying life again. Then on Easter Sunday, he cut himself after he was harassed on the social media site Kik.                       

“He said, ’Mom, they said horrible, sexual things and told me I shouldn't be alive,’” said Prescott.

Six weeks later, after the death of several pets, Kyler locked himself in the bathroom and took his own life.  Paramedics broke down the door, but it was too late.

“I don't need to know specifics,” said Prescott, choking back tears. Prescott did not want to be told how her son died. Kyler is the third local trans teen to commit suicide since March.      

“It tells me how hard a road these kids are walking, and that's whey the need to be supported, by both family and the community,” said Prescott.

Prescott says Kyler was happy at how much support Bruce Jenner received in a world that is “slowly changing.”                       

“But when you're a teenager, slowly changing is not enough. What Kyler and a lot of these youths feel is this world is still a tough place for them. While he had friends and a family that loved him, he was constantly being referred to by acquaintances by the wrong pronoun. Each time, that tore him up inside. He also wanted surgery on his chest, but most are told they can’t have that surgery until they are 18,” said Prescott.

A recent study showed half of transgender people have attempted suicide at least once by the age of 26.

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help with funeral expenses and a garden tribute to Kyler.

A support program recently started in hopes of assisting families of trans youth or young adults.  

SUICIDE PREVENTION (24-HOUR HOTLINES)
San Diego County Crisis Line: 1-888-724-7240
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

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