15-year-old trans boy killed himself after school ‘refused to use his new name’

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A transgender teenage boy died by suicide after his school refused to accept his transition, an inquest has heard.

Leo Etherington, 15, had attended Wycombe High School – a girls’ grammar school in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.

He had come out to his family, friends and teachers as a transgender man and begun presenting as male.

However, a coroner’s court heard that the school refused to refer to him by his new name, and told him they would not respect his transition until he turned 16.

He later took his own life in his bedroom at home in High Wycombe.

Incredibly, the school’s statement this week continued to refer to Leo by his old female name.

15-year-old trans boy killed himself after school ‘refused to use his new name’

The school’s head teacher Sharon Cromie, wrote: “[Old name] was a wonderful person in every way and is missed by us all.”

Leo’s father Martin Etherington, his lone parent after his mother died from cancer in 2013, told the inquest that the teen had been angry that teachers continued to refer to him by his female name when he transitioned to male in 2016.

There is no legitimate reason why a school would refuse to respect the identity of a student.

The court heard that Leo had a “support network” of friends and family who had been supportive of his transition, despite the school’s actions..

His dad had attended sessions at the gender identity clinic with Leo, and even offered to fund gender re-assignment treatment after failing to get NHS funding.

According to the Telegraph, he told the inquest: “I told Leo I would fund any surgery when the time came.”

Assistant Coroner Alison McCormick recorded a verdict of suicide.

She told Leo’s dad: “You provided [him] with all the help and support [he] could have hoped for.

“I hope you can draw some comfort from that.”

Suicide is preventable. Readers who are affected by the issues raised in this story are encouraged to contact Samaritans on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org). ​Readers in the US are encouraged to contact the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255.