(WAOW/CNN) — A Wisconsin mother, heartbroken over the suicide of her transgender son, is speaking out.
She’s hoping her story — and regret — will help others become more accepting of transgenders, and perhaps save a life.
“He came out…and then I didn’t accept him,” said Joanne Lee. “If I could tell him that I loved him so much no matter what, you know, who he was. But I cannot go back.”
While Lee cannot go back, she is trying to create a positive future for LGBT people in Wisconsin through advocacy, speaking Thursday at a church in Stevens Point.
According to the event organizer, transgender persons face a 50 percent chance of attempting suicide before reaching the age of 20.
Jessica Tygart, who identifies as transgender, says she came to the event in search of resources and support.
“I have attempted suicide numerous times,” she said. “The help out there is just so minimal, that when you look for it, you can’t seem to find it.”
But it appeared that Tygart and others found what they were looking for as public officials pledged their support, and a mother shared her story pleading for acceptance.
“Please, accept them for who they are,” Lee said. “That’s the only way to save the children’s life.”
Joanne Lee will be honored Saturday for her activism at the 2016 Fair Wisconsin Education Fund Awards.