‘Why did they play with her life?’ Mother claims L.A. County pushed daughter to gender change, suicide

In Los Angeles County, a mother is mourning the suicide of her daughter, who she says was pushed by an L.A. County school to identify as a male, seek transgender treatments, and even be removed from her mom’s home in favor of foster care. Had the school properly treated her daughter for depression, claims the grieving parent, her daughter may still be alive.

Yaeli Martinez, who grew up with two sisters and a brother, was “the girlie girl in the house,” says mother Abigail Martinez, who immigrated to the U.S. from El Salvador as a teenager. Now 51, Martinez says her daughter loved to dress up as a princess and talk about the boys she liked at pre-school.

But by the time Yaeli was in middle school, bullies targeted her looks, and by the eighth grade, she was beginning to exhibit the signs of depression, Martinez said. Between the ages of 15 and 16, Yaeli began to question her sexuality.

“Earlier this month, Martinez participated in a Heritage Foundation even titled: ‘Protecting Our Children: How Radical Gender Ideology is Taking Over Public Schools & Harming Kids,'” Blaze Media reports.


“When she started high school, the doors opened to what she was talking about, like transgender, going to meetings, going to all the support that they think they have for these children … which is not,” Martinez recalled.

“The school counselor was involved, DCFS (Department of Children and Family Services) was involved, LGBT was in there too, trying to ‘help’ my daughter on the transition of being transgender,” Martinez continued. “I was accused that I didn’t want to open my eyes since she felt since she was a little girl that she was a boy, which is not true. She was not even close to a tomboy … she was the girlie girl in the house.”

Rather than providing meaningful treatment for a mental illness, says Martinez, an LGBTQ support group and the school staff encouraged Yeali to take hormone treatments and undergo gender reassignment surgery.

“I knew hormones wouldn’t work,” Martinez said.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, Yaeli was told not to discuss transgender issues with her mother and had her secretly join an LGBTQ group, where an older trans student “coached” her on what to say to social workers so she could be placed into foster care and succeed in getting the state to pay for her gender reassignment surgery.

L.A. County, in a statement to the Daily Mail, admitted that they “aggressively pursued the implementation of inclusive, gender-affirming laws, policies and supportive services for LGBTQ+ youth,” but said that “higher rates of suicide” among young queer people was partially to blame for the death of Yaeli, who was known as “Andrew” by the time she stepped in front of on oncoming train at the age of 19.

The school district dismissed any claims that they pushed hormones or surgeries on students as “categorically false” and claimed school staff diligently put minors in touch with outside medical help.

But in a 2020 civil lawsuit filed by Martinez against L.A. County and DCFS, Martinez places the responsibility for her daughters suicide at the feet of the government.

Yaeli had attempted suicide at least three times before tragically succeeding in 2019, including an attempt at overdosing while living in an “independent house” the year she died.

On a September day of the same year, Martinez said she was overcome with a sense of dread she couldn’t explain.

“I didn’t feel good, I felt a pain in my chest the whole day,” Martinez said. “I wanted to run and cry. It was a weird feeling I’d never felt before. I got a phone call. They said it was Pomona Police.”

“Around 9:30 pm that night,” Martinez continued, “she walked in front of the train tracks facing a train. She went on her knees, raised her arms up and just laid on the tracks.”

“I wasn’t able to recognize my daughter,” Martinez said. “I couldn’t see her for the last time. I was told if I wanted to see her I needed to sign a form because there was not much to see.”

“I knew that the hormones wouldn’t work,” the devastated mother said. “She was taken away from my house because they wanted to save her life. My question to all of them is where is my daughter now? Why did they play with her life?”

Melissa Fine


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