Nigel Shelby, a 15-year old Black student attending Huntsville High School in Alabama, has taken his own life after being bullied for being gay. A lot of people are now raising awareness about bullying in the LGBTQ community.
“We were saddened to learn this morning of the death of Nigel Shelby, one of our 9th-grade students,” Aaron King, the principal at Huntsville High School, said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time.”
Rocket City Pride, a Huntsville-area LGBTQ group, expressed their grief on Shelby’s untimely death and protested about the bullying.
“I remember being called terrible words even when I was in elementary school before I knew what they meant,” Celia Malone, a Rocket City Pride performer, told Rocket City Now. “These bullies have to be held accountable, and until our state legislation shows that they have to do that, they’re able to run amuck and do whatever they want.”
According to studies, students in the LGBTQ community are more likely to be bullied compared to other students. 74% of LGBTQ youth said they do not feel safe and accepted at the schools they attend, said the Center for Social Equity.
In most states, including Alabama, there is no law protecting LGBTQ students, according to the Movement Advancement Project.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise donations to help pay for Nigel Shelby’s funeral. So far, it has raised over $36,000.
Meanwhile, a national organization called The Trevor Project provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention to LGBTQ youth through call or chat available 24/7.