Blake Brockington, a transgender man who advocated for the rights of sexual minorities, died of an apparent suicide overnight, according to police and Time Out Youth.
Brockington, 18, was known as a girl until his sophomore year at East Mecklenburg High. He spoke of the difficulties of growing up transgender in Charlotte in a January story in the Observer. He said it was so difficult growing up that he moved in with a foster family and got counseling before transitioning to being Blake.
Last year, he was crowned East Meck’s homecoming king while running as an openly transgender student.
A vigil was held for Brockington Tuesday night in Charlotte. “Thank you for being a part of the space today and being here to support one another,” O’Neale Atkinson, director of youth programs at the Time Out Youth center, told mourners, according to local LGBT newspaper QNotes. “None of us have to do this alone. We’re all here to support each other,” Atkinson said. “If you need each other, lean on each other. We love you. We’re here for you. Be kind to one another. Love one another.”
Friends wrote messages to Brockington in chalk, saying things like “You are loved,” “My brother,” “Blake you will be missed” and “Blake we love you.”
Writer Janet Mock wrote “Rest in power” on Twitter after learning of Brockington’s death. “Orange Is the New Black” star Laverne Cox did not write an individual message, but instead shared Mock's tweet.
Funeral arrangements have not been finalized.