Gay Alabama teenager Nigel Shelby was laid to rest over the weekend with a celebration led by family and friends.
Attendees wore rainbow-themed clothing to the 15-year-old’s funeral at a Huntsville cemetery and services were held at the Rock Family Worship Center, according to Aazios.
A rainbow-colored casket adorned with butterflies and pictures of Shelby was made for the celebration.
“Nigel was the sweetest child,” said his mother, Camika Shelby, last week as news of her son’s death went viral. “I don’t want him to be remembered as a kid that was bullied for being gay and took his own life.”
“He was sunshine,” she continued.
In the wake of her son’s death, Camika has been open that they were actively seeking medical assistance with her son’s depression. She says that the struggles with bullying in school and internal battles with identity are what led to his death.
Since news broke of the incident, many people across the globe have openly mourned his loss and tried to use the moment to call for more LGBTQ acceptance. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Corey Booker took to Twitter to say that his “heart breaks” for the Shelby family.
However, not all have been so supportive.
A local sheriff deputy spoke out against the tragedy around Shelby’s death by posting a now-deleted Facebook post stating he was offended by LGBTQ people and that society should not accept them.
“Liberty, Guns, Bible, Trump, BBQ. That’s my kind of LGBTQ movement,” Madison County Deputy Jeff Graves wrote. “I’m seriously offended there is such a thing such as the movement. Society cannot and should not accept this behavior.”
Madison County’s sheriff’s office moved swiftly after the post to reprimand Graves by placing him on leave pending an audit of his behavior.
“The Sheriff’s Office holds all its employees to a high standard, and the public can be assured that a thorough and complete audit will be conducted and appropriate action will be taken,” Madison County spokesman Lt. Donny Shaw said in a statement shortly the post. “The involved employee has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the audit.”
Shelby’s death comes as numerous groups continue to fight to stop staggering rates of suicide within LGBTQ communities. Meanwhile, over 74 percent of LGBTQ+ youth say they don’t feel safe at school, according to the Center for Social Equity.
If you are a trans or gender-nonconforming person considering suicide Trans Lifeline can be reached at (877) 565-8860. LGBTQ youth (ages 24 and younger) can reach the Trevor Project Lifeline at (866) 488-7386. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 can also be reached 24 hours a day by people of all ages and identities.
SOURCE: ADVOCATE DOT COM