Fifteen-year-old Nicole Seely identified as a boy. "She decided that her outside persona was more like a boy," said her mother, Elaine. "She presented this to the world and said, 'This is who I am.'"
The Cleveland News-Herald reports that, since 3rd grade, Nicole had "gravitated toward masculinity" according to her father, Greg. She wore short hair, boys' clothes, and acted like a tomboy.
For defying gender norms so blatantly she paid the price at school. Classmates taunted and ridiculed her. The problems grew worse when she entered 8th grade. Life became miserable for her.
"It wasn't just guys, it was girls too that were harassing her," said her mother. Nicole kept her problems to herself. Even school officials were unaware of the severity of the situation. On 13 Oct 98 Nicole could take it no longer. She killed herself using her father's.22 rifle.
"She pulled the trigger... because she felt it was the only way she could escape the torment inflicted on her by her classmates," said June Shiplett, a friend of the family.
"Every day she went to school was torture for her and she didn't know how to stop it."