Casey Hoke, a respected transgender artist and student activist, has died at the age of 21, the Los Angeles Blade reports.
A Point Foundation scholar studying graphic design communications at the California State Polytechnic University of Pomona, Hoke died Wednesday in his home, according to a family statement on his Facebook page. The L.A. County deputy medical examiner says the cause of death was deferred until after an official inquest.
“My family is heartbroken,” Hoke’s brother, Ryan Benjamin Hoke, writes in a statement. “We ask for privacy, but at the same time want to make sure Casey’s friends and connections know.” He later told the Blade, “Casey lost his battle with mental illness.”
Hoke served as a board member of the Gay and Lesbian Student Education Network, as well as a former student ambassador for GLSEN’s Art, Identity & YOU workshop.
“I have known Casey since he was in high school and he was a remarkable force of light, love, art, and power in the world who worked with GLSEN at every level,” says GLSEN executive director Dr. Eliza Byard. “He touched so many lives and he will always inspire me to press on and stop hate.”
As part of his community service for Point Foundation, which awards scholarships to accomplished LGBTQ students, Hoke was working on QueerArtHistory.com, an educational resource for queer visual art and culture.
“Casey was a beloved member of the Point Family and the love and warmth he brought to every space he was in will be missed,” says Point Foundation executive director Jorge Valencia. “Casey’s family told us how proud he was of his Point community service project and that we in the Point Foundation would ask that folks go see the incredible work that Casey was doing.”
Hoke came out as a trans at his Louisville high school, where transphobic harassment from the principal helped fuel his LGBTQ activism.
A noted TEDx speaker, Hoke also contributed to Huffington Post and MTV News.