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  DEATH IN ONTARIO

Canadian Trans Teen’s Sudden Death May Have Been Bullying-Related Suicide

The small town of Chatham, Ontario has been rocked by the sudden death of Coltyn Mayrand, a 16-year-old trans teen who passed away Saturday night.

There is some question, though, as to the cause of Mayrand’s death: He’s believed to have committed suicide, though no official report has been made public. And though family members admit Coltyn was bullied for being trans, they say it wasn’t the root of his problems:

“As much as bullying is a terrible thing, and may have affected Coltyn, we do not believe that bullying played a large part in our loss of Coltyn,” posted Page Elizabeth Mayrand on Facebook. “We appreciate the kind thoughts and words, but we don’t need everyone out there putting blame and criticisms on anyone, for any reasons.”

Mayrand’s obituary reads, in part:

“A past student of Our Lady of Fatima and Monsignor Uyen, and a dedicated grade 11 student of Chatham Kent Secondary School where he was highly regarded and supported; he was wise beyond his years. Coltyn had a remarkable character, and touched the hearts of many, young and old. Colt will forever be remembered for being an extraordinary son, brother and friend, who was exceptionally kind in his words, generous in his deeds and outstanding in his academics. Always understanding and compassionate with a keen sense of humour. Coltyn was extremely dedicated and thoroughly enjoyed his involvement and time spent in the Sears Drama program, paintball, and scouts, especially their annual canoe camp excursion on the Magnetewan River. His patience and acceptance of others was greatly admired and only surpassed by his strength, courage, and loyalty to be true to his genuine self.”

But if Mayrand’s death was a suicide, was it a bullycide?

Mayrand went to a LGBT youth group at AIDS Support Chatham-Kent, where one of the staffers tells Queerty it was known he faced abuse at school. A former classmate uploaded a blogpost about Mayrand, whom she knew before high school. It’s since been taken down, but the excerpts here reveal something of Mayrand’s personality and some of the harassment he may have endured.

Coltyn hadn’t become Coltyn until high school. Before then, he was Tess. Tess was a beautiful young girl who made everyone around her smile and laugh. She was excited by life. We would talk about pretty dresses our moms gave us. We would braid the others hair. We would go out at recess and catch butterflies together. We would try to learn how to skip double-dutch, but we never figured that one out. We would talk about getting older, and what we wanted to accomplish with our lives. She was one of the smartest people I knew. She would never hurt anyone, or anything.

Tess and I drifted apart after I moved from French-immersion into English classes. I would always say hi and try to catch up when I could, but she started acting uninterested and didn’t talk as much as she used to.

She started wearing boys clothes in about grade six. In grade seven, she cut all her hair off. We thought she just wanted to fit in with the boys, but nobody knew to ask her personally. She got really involved with the Cub Scouts, and schoolmates thought that was “for boys only,” and started nicknames like “boygirl” and “it.”

People made fun of her, and she started being alone at recess. She still had friends, but she tried as hard as she could to be by herself. It was hard to see someone go from being so full of life to trying as hard as she could to shut it out.

In grade nine, Tess changed her name to Coltyn. She changed her gender on Facebook to “male.” People started avoiding her. She used the girls’ washroom, and always got weird looks when she came in. People asked questions, and gave answers even when they didn’t know the truth. None of these people knew how lovely Coltyn was, but yet they were close-minded based on what they thought they knew.

A funeral service for Mayrand will take place on Friday, February 3, in Chatham.

By:           Dan Avery
On:           Feb 1, 2012
Tagged: , , , , ,

  • 43 Comments
    • LancerLaw
      LancerLaw

      Thank you Queerty. I didn’t know Coltyn personally or any of the many other tragic youth we’ve lost. However, with the loss of each young person, we are reminded why so many of us put in countless hours and resources to try to make sure we don’t read these stories in our local papers. This one was very close to home … and I urge your readers to get involved locally to resource centres/pride centres and the like, to hopefully never have this happen to someone so close to home. As a community we are strong, but alone – we can be quite fragile. We need the community to make sure kids know they are not alone, they are not less than, they are wonderful, beautiful, and have people who care.

      Feb 1, 2012 at 2:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lucifer
      Lucifer

      Fight back!!!!!!!!!

      Feb 1, 2012 at 3:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MEJ
      MEJ

      …but we don’t need everyone out there putting blame and criticisms on anyone, for any reasons.

      I find that last part slightly disturbing. It’s like they’re trying to sweep this under the rug.

      Feb 1, 2012 at 3:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MEJ
      MEJ

      Here’s the Legacy.com link for anyone who wants to leave a note to the family:

      http://www.legacy.com/guestbook/windsorstar/guestbook.aspx?n=coltyn-mayrand&pid=155716969&cid=full

      Be polite. If you don’t have something compassionate to write, write nothing.

      Feb 1, 2012 at 4:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Stephen
      Stephen

      This is a tragic story, as is every story of a young person taking their own life, but there’s NOTHING in here that suggests this suicide was specifically or mainly related to bullying. Being trans is I’m sure extremely difficult for a thousand reasons beyond just the bullying factor, and screaming “BULLY” at the top of your longs every time an LGBT youth commits suicide is probably more detrimental than helpful to the anti-bullying movement. As written, this story reads like you threw “bullying” in the headline because you knew it would get you more blog hits. Even if Coltyn was tormented by bullies from sun up to sun down from the 6th grade on, it’s extremely tacky to try and make him an anti-bullying poster child when the family has explicitly said they don’t want that. Let them grieve in peace instead of trying to get the internet riled up about their son’s death.

      Also, the word “bullycide” makes me cringe.

      Feb 1, 2012 at 4:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Phantom
      Phantom

      @MEJ: I agree. It sounds like his mom never really care for him, but I could be wrong.

      Feb 1, 2012 at 4:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MEJ
      MEJ

      @Phantom:

      I think that’s actually his sister.

      Feb 1, 2012 at 4:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Phantom
      Phantom

      @MEJ: whoops, either way, it’s still a tragedy and family member (whoever it is) seems dont care.

      Feb 1, 2012 at 4:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Arek
      Arek

      Are you guys kidding me?? How DARE you judge the family’s devotion to their son?? You don’t know these people. Your flippancy is appalling.

      Hey, maybe they actually know more about the emotional state of their son than you do! Surprising, isn’t it? Not every tragedy that befalls somebody LGBT can be blamed on a straight person.

      Feb 1, 2012 at 5:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • KyleW
      KyleW

      So his family have said it almost certainly WAS NOT bullying, and you label the news article “May have ben bullying related”. That seems pretty presumptuous as it’s not even certain that it was suicide, much less why.

      I have nothing but sympathy for teens driven to suicide by bullying, but let’s not look for excises to make orselves into martyrs This is like black people who interpret every negative comment as racism.

      Let’s wait and see before we ignore the comments of the family, who may simply be taking their stance to avoid bully hysteria.

      Feb 1, 2012 at 5:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • InscrutableTed
      InscrutableTed

      @Phantom: I think it is beyond inappropriate for you to accuse his family of not caring for him.

      His family sound fairly supportive of his transgenderism, allowing him to be in Scouts and what-not. They probably know the circumstances of his suicide much better than you do. The local police will be investigating, and the wild guesses of strangers on the internet (like yourself) won’t help.

      Stop being a dick.

      Feb 1, 2012 at 5:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • A friend
      A friend

      What an amazing obit!!!! To have family that obviously completely supported him is wonderful to see. They loved their son….that says it all. My prayers go out to his family and friends and memebers of his school.

      Feb 1, 2012 at 8:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jj
      jj

      That really is a touching obituary. He was very attractive too, i would have had no idea he was ftm if i hadnt read the article. Very sad situation

      Feb 1, 2012 at 9:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Drew
      Drew

      Rest in peace.

      I agree with Stephen, not all people who are LGBT who kill themselves do so because as one gay male friend of mine put it, “Bullying is the new AIDS”.

      Feb 2, 2012 at 12:11 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Steve Perez
      Steve Perez

      Super sad. But am I the only one thinking how cute he looked in the top picture??? How can someone with a face like that be made fun of? He was beautiful!

      Feb 2, 2012 at 4:57 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sunshine
      Sunshine

      My condolences to all that knew Coltyn and for the loss of his potential. My only comment to Queerty is that I find it extremely problematic to print excerpts from this girl’s blog revealing his past name. That is incredibly degrading and no less so than when he was alive. Please respect that, although you are seeking to expose a potential bullying story, you are contributing to the degradation of his person by revealing information about him which he had not given consent to – and which is largely used to *expose* trans people…thereby replicating the effects of the potential bullying. Please set the example and next time blot out the name. Thank-you.

      Feb 2, 2012 at 1:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Oh, ok.
      Oh, ok.

      I don’t understand why the parents in these situations don’t change school districts or even consider private or home schooling when they know without a doubt their children are being heavily bullied.

      Leaving it up to public school systems to do something about bullying results in this far too often.

      I had a teacher actually attack me because I shouted “STOP” at two bullies who were throwing thing at me and calling me names during her lecture. She let them go without a word and came at me.

      Public schools are a nightmare and full of bigotry from the faculty itself.

      Feb 2, 2012 at 3:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Arek
      Arek

      @Oh, ok.: Easier said than done. It’s cost-prohibitive! Private schools are expensive and home-schooling only works if one parent doesn’t work.

      Feb 2, 2012 at 3:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Oh, ok.
      Oh, ok.

      @Arek: I’d rather go in debt saving my child’s life than live knowing I allowed him to be bullied.

      Feb 2, 2012 at 3:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • KyleW
      KyleW

      @Oh, ok.: I see this all the time. The problem is, parents rarely realise how serious the situation has become for their child. If they did,do you even think that they’d leave them alone whilst they were feeling suicidal?

      Feb 2, 2012 at 5:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Oh, ok.
      Oh, ok.

      Bullied teens often times lock themselves in their room and don’t have any friends to visit or come over after school.

      There are very obvious signs long before it gets to suicide. Sorry but it’s time to stop pulling punches, sugar coating, and pretending no one had any way of knowing.

      It’s almost impossible not to know there’s something wrong with your child when they’re always alone, rarely social, and look flat out miserable.

      The article itself says they knew the bullying was taking place. Time to change schools, move if you have to. They knew something was wrong, inaction left him feeling he had no other choice.

      Many of these suicides could easily be prevented if parents would go back to being parents and putting children first. Jobs shouldn’t come first, you can come out of debt, you can’t bring a child back from the dead.

      Feb 2, 2012 at 5:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Close Friend
      Close Friend

      Seriously? Coltyn was a very good friend of mine and first of all, i know that he would not have appreciated being publicly outed by anyone, be it a friend or some internet magazine. Also, this supposed friend of his needs to get her facts straight because many of the things she said about him were completely inaccurate. And whoever is saying that parents need to put their jobs first needs to shut their mouth because that both of coltyns parents would have quit their jobs and lived on the goddamn streets if it meant that coltyn would still be here. they love their children more than anything else in the whole universe and they are both wonderful, caring people. Coltyn did not do this because he was bullied. he was so much stronger than that. And the asshole saying that his mother never cared for him? How would you feel if your son killed himself and people were saying things like that about you? think before you speak. I am utterly disgusted by this. Just because he can’t stand up for himself anymore does not mean that you get to humiliate him and his family like this. Have a little compassion for those who are grieving.

      Feb 2, 2012 at 11:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Close Friend
      Close Friend

      I would also like to say that, although it may not seem like it, his parents tried very hard to help him. So please don’t make dumb comments if you don’t know the whole story. And just because you read an article about him, does not mean that you know him or his family and that you get to judge them. I think that this article is very inappropriate and, although i am sure it is very entertaining for those who didn’t know Coltyn, he, nor his family, nor his friends, are any sort of circus freak show for people to gossip about. This article is based solely on rumours and nothing more. I think that everyone who loved Coltyn would agree with me in saying that i think this needs to be taken down. I realize that the author did not mean any harm, but this article and the comments that accompany it are very hurtful to Coltyn and his family. Coltyn was a very kind and caring person who would never do anything to cause harm to anyone. So why do it to him? Neither Coltyn or his loved ones deserve this. Your consideration would be greatly appreciated.

      Feb 2, 2012 at 11:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 5598
      5598

      The one who posted that on tumblr, my friend, had no idea it would get as many hits as it did and she certainly didn’t do it for any attention. She told me she was touched by the story of Colt learning who he was and expressing that so well and wanted a place to write it down. Nobody knew her site before people became so adiment about searching every inch of the internet for things about him. This site does not show all of the blog post, if anything it leaves out the most important piece in the end. Do your homework before you judge her

      Feb 2, 2012 at 11:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Close Friend My Ass
      Close Friend My Ass

      @Close Friend: Shut up, idiot. No one is trying to humiliate him or hurt his family.

      Pull your head out of your ass and quit making knee-jerk assumptions.

      Feb 3, 2012 at 12:28 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • newcityspot
      newcityspot

      Damn. The world hadn’t caught up to him yet. Brothers and sisters, be brave!

      Feb 3, 2012 at 2:39 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Close Friend
      Close Friend

      He would not have wanted this. That is all i have to say. I am really quite upset that this has become some public thing. Many of the people reading this did not know him and do not know what in this article is false and what is true. There are enough rumours already. I know that to people who did not know Coltyn, this seems really sweet or sad or whatever, but when you know the real story, it does not seem like that at all.

      Feb 3, 2012 at 9:19 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Close Friend
      Close Friend

      @5598 i don’t blame your friend for being inspired by him. many people were. But 90% of the things said were actually based on rumours that were going around my school when he was still alive. Colt never had long hair he never wore dresses and he certainly never used the girls bathroom. I know that it is hard for people to understand, but colt was never a girl. That is not how it works.

      Feb 3, 2012 at 9:25 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • friend
      friend

      Romours r romours and there is nothing u can do about that just people talking crap that they know nothing about and just assume about what was going on with this you boy..Why dont people get facts straight before posting all over the internet…He was a young boy that had problems and it was hard for him to deal with it all…All the romours and what is being said about him is only hurting his family and friends and thats not right…People should have more respect then that but i guess not…And i am right disguted with the things that have been said…the way i see it if u dont know coltyn or know what really happen then shut your mouth about things because if u did know him people wouldnt say the false things that r on here…Let Coltyn rest in peace and not blame his family or friends and say they didnt care because its just not true….just let the family morn of their loss and start to heal and deal with the loss of their son…My heart goes out to the family and hope u can get through this in peace and not let the romours about your son get to anybody that knew Coltyn..i know its hard not to let it get to the family and friends of coltyn but its just people being disrespectful and its sad..R.I.P Coltyn…

      Feb 3, 2012 at 10:24 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Artemis Foul
      Artemis Foul

      @Close Friend My Ass:

      REALLY?! You’re being a TROLL on an obituary. Have some tact, some of the ppl posting here clearly knew him and are grieving. Find somewhere else to be a jerk to people you don’t even know.

      Feb 3, 2012 at 10:50 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Close Friend
      Close Friend

      @friend: Thank you! It’s good to know that even though he is no longer with us, people are still standing up for him and i know that he would have appreciated it. I agree with everything that you said and he really does deserve to rest in peace. He lived through a lot and i think that the rumours and disrespect should stop now.

      Feb 3, 2012 at 11:05 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Close Friend
      Close Friend

      @Artemis Foul: Thank you as well! What you said is completely true and greatly appreciated.

      Feb 3, 2012 at 11:13 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • friend
      friend

      Im standing up for somebody that cant do it anymore and disrespecting somebody that is gone just isnt right…And i didnt like what people were saying come on people he was only a 16 yr old boy that had a hard time with life the disrespecting and comments that shouldnt be said in the first place need to stop…Nobody knows Coltyn better then his family and close friends he had in his life..My heart goes out to the ones that really knew Coltyn and i hope u all find peace and i hope u all get through this terrible lose and find time to heal…

      Feb 3, 2012 at 12:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • bruce
      bruce

      @MEJ: Or perhaps the family truly feels there is nobody to blame. This may have been a suicide based on external factors not related to his trans-gender issues. I’m sure the family would speak the truth in this difficult time. RIP Coltyn.

      Feb 3, 2012 at 5:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Disappointed
      Disappointed

      I honestly believe that it is because of this article publicly outing Coltyn that his memorial site is being explicitly desecrated by disrespectful people who probably didn’t even know Coltyn. If there was something that he had wanted someone to know about himself, he would have told them while he was still here. Otherwise, his personal life is none of your business. This article is very disrespectful to his privacy, especially since he can no longer voice that for himself. Very disappointed.

      Feb 3, 2012 at 9:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Zosha
      Zosha

      Shame on you Queerty for publishing this article. It obviously has done more harm than good. Yes, okay, jump on the bully band wagon even though you have no FACTS to support it. Are you not supposed to support the queer community? And here you posthumously outed a young man FOR NO GOOD REASON. Shame, shame, shame on you!

      Feb 3, 2012 at 10:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dr. Margaret Robinson
      Dr. Margaret Robinson

      @Sunshine: I agree with you, Sunshine. Outing Coltyn’s birth name is inappropriate and disrespectful.

      Feb 4, 2012 at 10:11 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dan
      Dan

      What I find disrespectful – are the comments left on his facebook memorial page. Comments from other teenagers – things like “He probably took horse cock” or “I love making fun of deformed creatures like this, he deserved it.” – Are you KIDDING me?!?!? I have reported EACH person who made a harassing comment. I think it speaks volumes about how disconnected we are – to each other. What kind of student disrespects a fellow student’s memorial page in such a way?!? Stupid, stupid, stupid. And so sad for Coltyn’s family to have to read this! I hope these students – who have written such horrifying monstrous comments – are pulled into their school office on Monday and are asked to answer to and be responsible for their comments. We need responsibility and ownership of what we do. There are no consequences any more! How is it okay to so blatantly disrespect a memorial page like this…over a few laughs…a transgendered person is the brunt of the joke…and he’s dead. I’m sickened by this. SICKENED. And so sad. Not only for the tragic loss of this young person, but for how lost so many of our young people are. This, my friends, is a sad, sad day.

      Feb 4, 2012 at 11:16 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Disappointed
      Disappointed

      @Dan: The truly sad part is that the people making rude comments, for the most part, are not fellow students. Nor do i believe that any of them even live in Chatham. None of them knew who he was until, in my opinion, they read this article or the blogpost posted by ‘a friend’. No one knew that Coltyn was trans except the close friends and family members that he had come out to. So how else would these people have known to write things targeted towards his gender? The blogpost has been removed and that is greatly appreciated. This article needs to be removed as well before anyone else can read it and make judgements based on his gender. If this site is really an LGBTQ friendly site, this would not have been published in the first place. Coltyn was an amazing, beautiful person and he would never have treated anyone this way. He and his loved ones deserve better than this. Please respect his rights and take this down.

      Feb 4, 2012 at 2:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Disappointed
      Disappointed

      For those who agree that this article should come down, please vote here.
      http://queerty.uservoice.com/forums/116963-queerty-site-feedback/suggestions/2569922-please-remove-this-article-http-www-queerty-com-
      Your votes would be greatly appreciated.

      Feb 4, 2012 at 2:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • A good friend
      A good friend

      Look I was his best friend and he was mine. I knew everything about his past life and even tryed to help him through it as best as I could. He would not have wanted any of his past life to be brought back. As far as we were concerned his past was behind him and never going to come back. So please queerty take down this post, for Coltyn, his family, and his real friends.

      Feb 5, 2012 at 4:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • GChamberlain
      GChamberlain

      The Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC) The Current hosted a radio program available on line about PTS with links to organizations that I believe people would find beneficial. The links are to Canadian organizations who are seeking to find ways to assist individuals, families and institutions deal with traumas from bullying, crime, accidents, financial trauma, devastating illness.

      http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/episode/2012/01/18/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-not-just-a-military-disorder/

      Post-traumatic stress disorder not just a military disorder
      Ute Lawrence never went to war and never saw a conflict zone. But she did find herself on the wrong stretch of highway one September day 13 yrs ago. And that’s when everything changed. One of Canada’s most deadly highway pileups sent her on a lonely, uncharted journey through the world of PTSD. Today, we’re talking about identifying the traumas that will linger.
      Listen: (Pop-up)

      Feb 6, 2012 at 10:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Raquel Santiago
      Raquel Santiago

      Even one death is too many. This has to stop.!

      Aug 4, 2012 at 4:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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