First off, this should NOT be happening!!!
A whopping 41% of people who are transgender or gender-nonconforming have attempted suicide sometime in their lives, nearly nine times the national average, according to a sweeping survey released three years ago.
BREAKING NEWS: A suicide note left behind by a Pennsylvania transgender teen hints at depression and being “a prisoner” of his body.
“My mirror reflects Jessica, my heart and mind say Riley,” wrote Riley Moscatel, 17, on Tuesday just before he was killed by an oncoming Amtrak train near Croyden. “You see me as the happiest person in school, I’m a prisoner of my own body.”
Surveillance footage confirmed the suspicion that the Bucks County Technical High School senior born as Jessica took his own life at about 1:30 p.m. after fighting a private, but desperate struggle to identify as Riley.
The teen struggled with depression years before he decided to publicly self-identify as Riley earlier this year. However, in an interview with the Trentonian newspaper, his parents continued to reference him as their daughter.
“She did a really good job of masking her depression in front of the people that she loved,” his father, Rich Moscatel told the newspaper. “We’re still kicking ourselves as to what was the straw that broke the camel’s back. She was dealing with a lot of pressures.”
Riley had no problem adjusting from Jessica to Riley at his Fairless Hills school where other transgender or gay students attended including his friend, Kate Cimino, who described Riley as “everyone’s best friend.”
“Even though everyone showed support and called him Riley, it didn’t match up to what he felt of himself,” Cimino told the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Riley wanted to have breast surgery, but his mother, Kristine Moscatel, gave him a binder to help flatten his chest even though she admits his transition was hard to handle after having a daughter for 17 years.
“She’s my daughter. She’ll always be my daughter,” Moscatel told the Trentonian. “We were trying to accept and never said, ‘No, you can’t be a boy.’”
Riley had also been researching hormone treatments he could begin after his 18th birthday in December.
“If I could choose if I was born a girl or guy I would have chosen a guy,” Riley wrote in another Instagram post describing his female-to-male dysphoria. “Most female-to-males wouldn’t agree because (their) journey made them stronger, but it really takes a toll on me.”
Suicide attempts are higher among transgender people and stem from feelings of not belonging or burdening family members, the Inquirer reported.
His father said Riley had insecurities about starting his senior year and about going to college, but didn’t realize what would happen after a quick phone call on Tuesday.
Riley seemed happy and even giggled on the phone to say their family’s new dishwasher was shipped to their home.
Riley put his house key under the mat and went for a walk after that.
“The rest is the rest,” Rich Moscatel said. “She didn’t give anyone a chance to talk her off the ledge.”
For those in need of help, call 1-800-273-TALK for the National Suicide Prevention Line.