A 15-year-old transgender boy who killed himself earlier this year “was angry with [his] school” after they refused to use his chosen name.
An inquest into the death of 15-year-old Leo Etherington heard that teachers at his school, Wycombe High School, continued to use his former name to refer to him and told him he was unable to change it until he was 16.
Leo took his own life in his bedroom earlier this year when his family thought he was studying for his GCSE exams.
Martin Etherington, Leo’s father, told the inquest: “The school told him he had to be 16 to change his name. He said he was angry with the school. “I asked him if I should speak to them and he said no. I said we could wait until he was 16 and then change his name.”
Leo, whose mother passed away in 2012, was also told by his GP that he was not eligible for any kind of surgery, but Mr Etherington told Leo “I would fund any surgery when the time came.”
Alison McCormick, assistant coroner, issued a verdict of suicide on Thursday (August 30). She told Etherington: “You and Leo had a very loving, supportive relationship, and you provided all the support he could have hoped for. I know this must be very hard but I hope you can take some comfort from that.”
Speaking about discovering Leo after his death, his dad said: “I could see from the colour of his face and the coldness of his skin that he was dead.” He went on to say that Leo was “joking around” with his family in the hours before he took his own life.
Leo’s school did not even respect his wishes in death, using his former name in a statement. Head teacher Sharon Cromie said: “Louise was a wonderful person in every way and is missed by us all.”