Daine Grey: Friend behind fundraiser for ‘outgoing, loving’ trans student’s funeral ‘blown away’ as $20,000 raised

The friend who organised a crowdfunder to pay for the funeral of trans student Daine Grey, who is believed to have taken his own life, has spoken to PinkNews about the outpouring of the love and support the campaign has received – smashing its $17,000 target in just 40 hours.

“If you look at the picture that I posted (above), I took that picture, that basically sums [him] up. He was proud of who he was,” Lady Katerina tells PinkNews from San Francisco.

“Even though he struggled with depression, even though he struggled with physically disabilities and other health problems, he was just trying to make life better for himself.”

The community leader is talking about the photo of Grey,  happily posing with a Pride flag, which she used on the GoFundMe page she set up to fundraise enough money to pay for his funeral. She says that she took the photo because it was his “Supergay Daine Day.”

Grey, 22, a student at City College of San Francisco, passed away on July 2.

Lady Katerina, who met Grey at the Queer Resource Center at City College, says that the coroner told her that Daine’s parents, who she says had disowned the student, “wanted nothing to do with him.”

“They didn’t want to claim the body, they wanted nothing to do with the funeral expenses,” she tells PinkNews.

PinkNews could not independently verify Lady Katerina’s claims. Attempts have been made to reach Grey’s parents for comment. Grey’s father Peter Haught told PinkNews that his son was not disowned.

The fundraiser quickly went viral, surpassing the $17,000 target, and has so far raised more than $23,000. High-profile supporters include celebrity food writer Nigella Lawson, who donated $500.

“In the last few days, it’s just been very humbling,” Lady Katerina, who works in fundraising and outreach at the Queer Resource Center, says.

Lady Katerina set up the GoFundMe page to crowdfund the money to pay for Grey’s funeral. (Lady Katerina/Facebook)

“I’m a community leader – in many different things – I belong to the leather community, I belong to the queer community, I belong to many communities here.

“Just being able to reach out to them and find the support it’s blown me away, it’s blown the students away, it’s really helping them at this moment.

“To see the love and support, most of these people do not go to City College, [the] majority of these people who donated did not know Daine, but they do know Daines out there, or they could have been Daines, like myself.”

Since the fundraiser beat its target an update on the GoFundMe page states that any money left over from the funeral expenses will go to the Queer Resource Center to “help provide education and outreach for our students and faculty around queer and trans needs.”

And, in her update on the GoFundMe page, Lady Katerina also says that Grey’s mother has got in touch with her.

“Mother got ahold of me today and wants to be part of it after being asked to sign over responsibility by Deputy of SF Coroner,” the page reads. “We will keep you posted.”

San Francisco’s queer community is raising funds to pay for the funeral of Daine Grey. (Daine Faolan Grey/Facebook)

Lady Katerina, also a student at City College, worked with Grey at the Queer Resource Center.

She describes Grey as “outgoing, very loving,” adding: “He cared about people.”

“He was proud of being queer, being trans, because, you know, he was kind of fluid, more pansexual, but queer,” she explains.

She says that the resource centre, which has just closed for the summer, was Grey’s “home.”

“He was there from open to close, when he wasn’t in class,” Lady Katerina explains.

But the community leader is critical of City College, especially for not keeping the Queer Resource Center open over the summer, accusing it of “failing” LGBT+ students there.

“The college has not really been supportive,” she says, adding: “Our school, it has been systematically transphobic and homophobic towards our students.”

Lady Katerina continues: “The school refusing, year after year after year, [to] open up the Queer Resource Center during the summer. We take away a very much viable life source for our students, who rely on the Queer Resource Center nine months of the year, and then being told: ‘Oh sorry we’re taking away that life source for the summer.'”

She says that the closure of the centre took away a vital source of support for Grey.

“He didn’t have the support he needed when we shut down before the summer,” she says.

City College of San Francisco did not immediately return PinkNews’ request for comment.

Having raised the funds, Lady Katerina is now in the process of organising Grey’s funeral, which she hopes will be held in the next couple of weeks.

“It will be non-religious [and will] celebrate his life,” she explains.

If you are in the UK and are having suicidal thoughts, suffering from anxiety or depression, or just want to talk, call The Samaritans on 116 123.

If you are in the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached on 1-800-273-8255, which provides free and confidential support.