Asking Why Four Young Trans People Have Died by Suicide in Lancaster, PA

Ashtonn Clatterbuck

Ashton Clatterbuck

Remembering Ashton

Saddened to report the death of another young person. Ashton Myles Clatterbuck recently died in the early hours of February 27, 2024 at the age of twenty-two. The cause was death by suicide. Ashton was from Lancaster County

Soon after, family and friends held a vigil for Ashton on February 29, 2024.

Mourners lit candles and stood together in the cold for 15 minutes of silent reflection. One of Clatterbuck’s friends, Audrey Salmons, read a poem, Advice to a Prophet by Richard Wilbur. Family friend Jamie Beth Cohen, from Lancaster, led the crowd as they sang “Courage, My Friend,” a traditional protest song. After the vigil, the sounds of crying and whispering gave way to conversation, a violin and even some laughter as people found fellowship in one another.

Lancaster Online

The Context

This past November, we reported on the tragic loss of three Lancaster transgender teenagers to suicide over the previous 12 months. Coming on the heels of the recent death of Nex Benedict and the autopsy report for Jacob Williamson, I feel gut punched. These are young people in my home state. I rage, beg, plead, educate, and inform. But …

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It is not enough. Clearly. There is an epidemic of anti-trans violence. It looks like hate crimes, murders, public policy, school policies, and it looks like deaths by suicide. We are not doing enough to create a safe world for trans youth. We are not doing enough to create a safe Pennsylvania.

River Paige Olmsted, age 17, October 16, 2023

Theadora “Thea” Cassidy, age 18, September 22, 2023

Brayden Snyder, age 15, October 25, 2022

Ashton Clatterbuck, age 22, February 22, 2024

Four young people in one Pennsylvania community. As I ask in similar scenarios, how is this not a bigger conversation? So many resources go towards fighting back oppression and trauma leaving little energy to find a way to turn that tide.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Ashton Myles Clatterbuck Memorial Fund (GoFundMe) to support the social justice causes that mattered most to him

You can read Ashton’s writing on Medium. That’s only one of many ways his legacy will continue.

Rest in power, Ashton. Thank you for all of your contributions to build a better world. I hope that our #ProtectTransKids project in Pennsylvania would make you proud.


If you need to talk with someone

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255); Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio: 1-888-628-9454; Crisis Text Line: Text “PA” to 741-741 .

The Trevor Project: (866) 488-7386

Trans Lifeline: (877) 565-8860

If you are interested, you can request a free #ProtectTransKids sticker here


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