Trans activist, child of Kentucky state senator dies of suicide

Kentucky Democratic state Sen. Karen Berg has announced in a statement on Tuesday, that her transgender son died by suicide.

Berg said in the statement that Henry Berg-Brousseau, 24, spent his life “working to extend grace, compassion and understanding to everyone, but especially to the vulnerable and marginalized.”

“As the mother of a transgender son, I gave my whole heart trying to protect my child from a world where some people and especially some politicians intentionally continued to believe that marginalizing my child was OK simply because of who he was,” Berg wrote. “This lack of acceptance took a toll on Henry. He long struggled with mental illness, not because he was trans but born from his difficulty finding acceptance.”

Funeral information can be found here.

Full Statement:

Last Friday morning my son Henry died by suicide. He was a beloved son, brother, nephew, dog parent and friend. The depth of his loss is yet to be absorbed.

Henry spent his life working to extend grace, compassion and understanding to everyone, but especially to the vulnerable and marginalized. This grace, compassion and understanding was not always returned to him.

As the mother of a transgender son, I gave my whole heart trying to protect my child from a world were some people and especially some politicians intentionally continued to believe that marginalizing my child was OK simply because of who he was.

This lack of acceptance took a toll on Henry. He long struggled with mental illness, not because he was trans but born from his difficulty finding acceptance.

Colleagues described Henry as “an absolute light.” He had recently received a big promotion in his job at the Human Rights Campaign. He was doing work that was important to him–to make the world a more accepting place.

At 24 years old he had finally found a community, but that could not undo the brokenness that he already felt

On a daily basis at his job Henry would be aware of the hateful and vile anti-trans messaging being circulated around this country and focused at his workplace. This hate building across the country weighed on him.

In one of our last conversations he wondered if he was safe walking down the street.

The vitriol against trans people is not happening in a vacuum. It is not just a way of scoring political points by exacerbating the culture wars. It has real-world implications for how transgender people view their place in the world and how they are treated as they just try to live their lives.

If I have one ask, it would be this: practice tolerance and grace. Work on loving your neighbor.

The National Suicide Prevention hotline is 988

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