Kate von Roeder purchased a shotgun last week and began posting cryptic countdowns to her Facebook page, and on Thursday she followed through with plans she said had been made for a long time.
This week, the California woman posted on Facebook a long suicide note before taking her life. In the note, she explained that pressures of living as a trans woman.
In the note, von Roeder explained that transitioning was too difficult, writing, “I shouldn’t have done it. Not because I’m not trans, but because I didn’t have a fraction of the personal strength to succeed at it, unlike some of the amazing trans people I’ve been privileged to know.”
The note garnered immediate responses from Facebook friends, who pleaded with Kate to call a suicide hotline or respond to their calls. But within four hours of posting the note on Facebook, police confirmed that Kate von Roeder had committed suicide.
The note has since gone viral, with a popular post on Reddit and discussion among the gaming community (Kate was a Riot employee and gamecaster known in Dota 2 as jerleminara). The suicide also sparked discussion of the difficulties transgender people face, and why the suicide rate among this population is so astronomically high.
A study released a few years ago sowed that 41 percent of transgender or gender-nonconforming people attempt suicide at some point in their lives, nearly nine times the national average.
This year, researchers tried to find out why that number is so high. Investigators from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law found that transgender people who suffered discrimination or violence were much more likely to attempt suicide.
And the rate of those who suffered was extremely high, the Los Angeles Times noted.
“Among transgender people who became homeless because of bias against their gender identity, 69 percent said they had tried to kill themselves. Out of those who had been turned away by a doctor because they were transgender or gender-nonconforming, 60% had attempted suicide sometime in their lives, the survey found.
“Nearly two-thirds of respondents who were the victims of domestic violence at the hands of a family member had attempted suicide, the study also showed. Suicide attempts were less common among transgender and gender-nonconforming people who said their family ties had remained strong after they came out.”
Experts said the survey pointed to a great need for family acceptance, along with a greater push to stamp out discrimination against transgender or gender-nonconforming people. They also advocate greater access to suicide prevention resources (like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which can be contacted here).
In her suicide note, Kate von Roeder did not mention any particular discrimination, but mentioned struggles in making and keeping friends.