Candlelight vigil held for transgender teen who took her own life

A vigil is held Tuesday night, Jan. 2, 2018, for Jai Bornstein, a transgender teen who took her own life about a year ago in Bakersfield, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

Family and friends remembered the life of a Bakersfield transgender teenager who committed suicide about a year ago.

Jai Bornstein, 19, was found in Hart Park several days after she went missing.

Tuesday night, a candlelight vigil was held to celebrate her life and continue the conversation about transgender suicides. It was an emotional gathering for family members and friends.

Bornstein was an advocate for the LGBTQ community. As a result, she touched many lives.

"Jai was very dedicated and was very vibrant, full of life, and that's exactly what we've gotten from Jai and were able to give and reciprocate to our community," said friend Phillip Castro.

It was clear the impact Bornstein had and continues to have as dozens gathered to remember her lost life.

For Jai's parents, Robert and Jeanie Bornstein, they hope the message of acceptance is heard every day.

"Be a positive force for change, to protect the most vulnerable in our society and to keep pushing the message that Jai stood for, which was you can't judge a person by how they look," said Robert Bornstein.

Studies show the LGBTG community are more vulnerable to planning or attempting suicide, and there are resources to get help.

The Kern County crisis hotline is (800) 991-5272.

The Trevor Project, a hotline geared toward those in the LGBTQ community, is (866) 488-7386.

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