On 19 April, Patrick Curz and Camika Shelby lost someone very dear to them. Two years before his death, Nigel Shelby had come out to his mother and expressed that he’s gay. Being a supportive mother, she told him that she wouldn’t turn her back on him.
Nigel was subjected to homophobic bullying in his school, hence, leading to his suicide. The state of Alabama does not provide any legal protection for Lgbt+ high school students. Nigel was a 9th-grade student of the Huntsville High School. The 15-year-old mother describes him to be like sunshine.
“He was sunshine. He was such a good spirit to have around. It breaks my heart because I feel like he had so much love to give”, describes his mother.
Rainbow casket for a Rainbow Boy
At his memorial service, he was laid to rest in a rainbow decorated casket. The casket was covered with photos of him, of butterflies and a pastel rainbow.
His mother expressed that she doesn’t want him to be remembered as a victim of bullying and suicide because he was a lot more. “I don’t want him to be remembered as a kid who was bullied for being gay and who took his own life. He was so much more than that”, she said.
According to his obituary, Shelby loved theater and history. Above all, he wanted to be an activist for the LGBTQ+ community.
Shelby was a bright and talented soul. He spent many years in a band, as a result, he played the clarinet, trumpet, and drums. Nigel Shelby wanted to become an entertainer when he grows up.
A struggle with his identity
“I knew he was struggling. I knew he was depressed. We were going to see doctors on a regular basis. He was going to see a psychiatrist. I’m still shocked that my baby’s not here anymore”.
Depression is a disease and it very much exists. For a child to come out and identify himself at a young age isn’t easy. Moreover, getting bullied for being courageous and embraces our identities is nowhere close to equality. Maybe if we are aware of the struggles that the youth of the LGBT+ community face, then this would not have happened.