Nigel Shelby was 15-years-old.
HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- A gay high school student died by suicide after he was bullied at school reports Out. Nigel Shelby,15, was the subject of homophobic taunting at Huntsville High School in Huntsville, Alabama.
Rocket City Pride, a local LGBT advocacy and support organization posted the news on Facebook over the weekend.
"We are heartbroken over the death of Nigel Shelby, a 15-year-old Freshman at Huntsville High School. Nigel took his life because he was bullied for being gay. There are no words that can be said to make sense of this devastating news. Below is a link to a GoFundMe account to help his mother with his funeral expenses. We will also be collecting donations at Huntsville’s Only Drag Brunch on Sunday and at Drag Queen Bingo on Tuesday. Please donate what you can to help."
A GoFundMe page has been started to help his family with funeral costs. As of this writing, people have donated over $14k of the $10k goal.
People who donated to the fund sent their condolences to his mother and also reflected on their own experiences growing up gay.
"To Nigel's mother, our heart goes out to you. I was Nigel back in my day but was not as brave as he was to be out," wrote Mark Seifert.
Cairo Zuniga also donated money and wrote of their experience as an out individual.
"I'm a queer person myself, and the amount of times I've considered suicide because of the hate this world lives in...it's so many times, I cannot count. I am so sorry for your loss, and I hope you are able to find peace one day."
Another donor named Sara thought society had advanced beyond this, but now realizes that's not the case.
"My heart breaks to realize that we haven’t made as much progress as I once felt we had," wrote Sara. "It sickens me that people could be so cruel to other people just for being different."
Huntsville drag entertainer Caila Malone donated $800 from a brunch event she hosted over the weekend, that money going to help Nigel's family.
"These bullies have to be held accountable and until our state legislation shows that they have to do that, they are able to run amuck and do what they want," said Malone. “It’s shaken all of us so we just have to bring our LGBTQ community in Huntsville together and let all of these kids know, that they are not alone.”
If you or someone you know is feeling hopeless or suicidal, contact The Trevor Project’s TrevorLifeline 24/7/365 at 1-866-488-7386. Counseling is also available 24/7/365 via chat everyday atTheTrevorProject.org/help or by texting 678-678.
Locally you can contact The San Diego LGBT Community Center at (619) 692-2077 for more support and resources.