An inquest has revealed that a 15-year-old trans boy committed suicide after his school refused to grant his name change. Even after his death, the school continued to misgender him, using the name he so desperately tried to stop using.
Leo Etherington came out at home and at school as a transgender boy. However, teachers at Wycombe High School, an all-girls grammar school in Buckinghamshire, England, told him that he could not change his name on the register for another year.
Giving evidence at an inquest, Leo’s father Martin Etherington said: “The school told him he had to be 16 to change his name. He said he was angry with the school.”
Martin also told the inquest how he attended gender identity sessions with his son and he offered to pay for gender re-assignment surgery.
On the day of Leo’s death, Martin said he called both his children down for dinner later that day. Robert came down but he did not hear from Leo, so he went upstairs to find him.
He said: “I knocked on his door but it was locked, which was not unusual. I got out a coin to open it from the outside as it was a bathroom-type lock.”
When he went in, he discovered Leo had hanged himself.
“I could see from the color of his face and the coldness of his skin that he was dead,” he told the coroner.
The coroner ruled the death as suicide by hanging, saying to Martin: “You and Leo had a very loving, supportive relationship, and you provided all the support he needed.”
The school headmaster issued a public statement in reaction to Leo’s death, a response that still misgenders him and doesn’t use his preferred name.
Headmaster Sharon Cromie wrote: “Louise was a wonderful person in every way and is missed by us all.”