SAN DIEGO, California – On Monday, May 18, San Diego transgender teen Kyler Prescott died by suicide. He was 14-years-old.
Imagining what it feels like to live inside a body that doesn’t feel genuinely yours might be hard to understand for some, but close friend of the Prescott’s, and mother of a transgender teen herself, Kathie Moehlig talks about Kyler’s life and the challenges transgender children face within the world and within their ever-evolving selves.
Kathie Moehlig got to know the Prescott family through transgender support groups around San Diego. The two families became friends and created a support system within their own circle. The grief stricken Prescott’s have given Moehlig permission to speak to SDGLN on their behalf.
Moehlig explained that Kyler was slowly emerging as a transgender teen a few years ago. The family was in full support of Kyler’s journey, even asking the teen if he minded the pictures around the house of him in dresses. Kyler was fine with that Moehlig said. Some transgender teens are more comfortable making their announcements, or transitioning at a slower speed than others.
This was the case for Kyler, “Probably starting a few years ago there was some gender fluidity; transition has been at Kyler’s pace,” Moehlig said. “Some teens when they come out, they come out and that’s it. Other teens tend to flow between the genders. He chose male pronouns, but was completely comfortable with the family still having all the pictures up of his childhood. Because in Kyler’s world a guy can wear a dress.” Kyler was involved in the youth group in North County, the youth group in Hillcrest and The Transforming Family support group.
These organizations helped Kyler to understand what he was going through and offer a stable environment for talking about and sharing feelings on his transitioning. “Kyler wasn’t necessarily an activist for the trans community,” Moehlig said. “However Kyler was a very outspoken activist for marriage equality–and since pre-school age, a huge animal activist. The family has a small little zoo, and Kyler really connected to animals. He did amazing art, sketching. He was also a very talented pianist and he loved to write stories and poems.”
Moehlig said that Kyler was well supported within most aspects of his life. There were a few times when he was mis-gendered by others and had to endure the rigorous challenges of just being a teenager, but overall Kyler was met with acceptance and approval. Unfortunately, the developing teen was unable to come to an armistice between the battle of puberty and the pace of time.
“It just was too hard.” Moehlig said. “Teens once they start that seed of puberty, or whenever age it is they come out we typically start them on hormone blockers. And that just stops whatever puberty is happening in their body. For some kids they just stay on blockers for a while. And with more gender-phobic kids that gives them time to kinda figure out who they are.”