BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — It's been two years since Jean Bornstein lost her daughter Jai to suicide. The 19-year-old CSUB student was a beloved member of the LGBTQ community and openly transgender.
"The impact of Jai's death has been really devastating for our family," said Bornstein. Jean and her family turned their grief into action in order to keep Jai's legacy of activism going in Kern County.
In 2018, CSUB opened Jai's library in honor of her, featuring a variety of books and resources dedicated to transgender awareness and identity.
June is Pride month, recognized throughout the world as a month to celebrate and remember the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community for their impact on the world.
However, research conducted by the Trevor Project reveals that LGBT individuals, especially those identifying as transgender continue to the most susceptible to bullying, rejection and mental health issues. According to research, 39 percent of LGBTQ youth have seriously considered suicide in the past 12 months with haft of those identifying as transgender or non-binary.
Director of Bakersfield Aids, Audrey Chavez first met Jai four years ago. She says sharing Jai's story along with recognizing Pride season allows Kern County to bridge the gap with the queer community.
"We need to frame the conversations, so that people understand we are in 2019 and have family members; we have friend, who are people in our work spaces and a part of our religions," said Chavez.
Pride season runs through the month of June. Tehachapi will be holding their second annual Pride Picnic on June 22, at Philip Maex Central Park. Bakersfield will hold their Pride in October due to the summer heat on the 12th at Strambler Park.