Guest Blogger

Remembering Leelah Alcorn

Filed By Guest Blogger | January 02, 2015 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: family acceptance, heartbreaking, Leelah Alcorn, misgendering, Ohio, suicide, tragedy, transgender teens

Editor's Note: Guest blogger Guest blogger Andé Morgan is a queer person of color and a freelance writer, covering topics in popular culture and LGBTQ issues. As a staff writer for Bitch Flicks, Andé reviews films from a feminist perspective.


"If you are reading this, it means that I have committed suicide and obviously failed to delete this post from my queue... Please don't be sad, it's for the better. The life I would've lived isn't worth living in... because I'm transgender."

leelah-alcorn.jpgLeelah Alcorn was a seventeen-year-old transgender girl living in Kings Mills, Ohio. Early in the morning on Sunday, December 28, she committed suicide by walking in front of an oncoming tractor trailer. She left a detailed suicide note as a scheduled post on her Tumblr account. In it she discussed the transmisogyny she endured from her parents and schoolmates.

"When I was 14, I learned what transgender meant and cried of happiness. After 10 years of confusion I finally understood who I was. I immediately told my mom, and she reacted extremely negatively, telling me that it was a phase, that I would never truly be a girl, that God doesn't make mistakes, that I am wrong. If you are reading this, parents, please don't tell this to your kids. Even if you are Christian or are against transgender people don't ever say that to someone, especially your kid. That won't do anything but make them hate them self. That's exactly what it did to me."

The note implies that Leelah received no support from her parents. Instead, they brushed off her gender identity as just a "phase," and forced her to see so-called "Christian therapists" that only further fostered shame and hopelessness. A Change.org petition asking President Obama to ban transgender conversion therapy has gained almost 150,000 signatures.

A formal investigation into Leelah's death is ongoing. A statement released by the Kings Local School District said that "Joshua Alcorn was a sweet, talented, tender-hearted 17-year-old." On Monday morning, Leelah's mother, Carla Wood Alcorn wrote a Facebook post in which she misgendered her daughter and denied the circumstances of her death (the post has since either been deleted or made private):

alcorn-mom-facebook.png

On Wednesday, Alcorn spoke to CNN, saying:

"We don't support [Leelah's gender identity], religiously... But we told him that we loved him unconditionally. We loved him no matter what. I loved my son. People need to know that I loved him. He was a good kid, a good boy."

Leelah ended her note with a heart-wrenching plea:

"The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren't treated the way I was, they're treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights. Gender needs to be taught about in schools, the earlier the better. My death needs to mean something. My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who commit suicide this year. I want someone to look at that number and say 'that's fucked up' and fix it. Fix society. Please."

After news of Leelah's death went viral, transgender women and other transgender people started posting under the hashtag #RealLiveTransAdult to show trans kids that it is possible for transgender people to live full and happy lives.

Please, if you're trans and you're in crisis -- or if you just need someone to talk to -- know that there are resources out there! Here are some good places to start:

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender National Hotline
1-888-843-4564

The Trevor Project
1-866-488-7386

Trans Lifeline
U.S.: 1-877-565-8860
Canada: 1-877-330-6366
@Translifeline

Alcorn also told CNN that no funeral services have been planned yet because "people have threatened to protest." Several vigils are scheduled for the near future in Kings Mills and the surrounding area.

Rest in power, Leelah.

leelah-alcorn-2.jpg


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