Jan 07 2015

Will Leelah Alcorn’s Death Be in Vain? A Question of Transgender Youth Rights

Around the country vigils are being held in memory of Leelah Alcorn, a teenager from Ohio who it is now thought, committed suicide by throwing herself in front of a tractor trailer on December 28th. Alcorn was born Joshua, and initially came out as gay to her friends before eventually identifying as female. Her tragic story has hit home to many around the country who have read her last words, for Leelah Alcorn left behind a suicide note on her social media account, scheduled to be published after her death.

In her letter, she blamed her parents, who are conservative Christians, for not supporting her decision to start hormone therapy to transition to female. She explained, “I feel like a girl trapped in a boy’s body, and I’ve felt that way ever since I was 4.” Alcorn also cited how her parents made her see a Christian therapist who told her, “I was selfish and wrong and that I should look to God for help.” She lamented the fact that they took her out of school and isolated her from her friends for months, confiscating her cell phone and laptop. But after she was able to contact her friends she found more isolation.

Alcorn ended her letter saying “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.”

GUEST: Sasha Buchert, Staff Attorney at the Transgender Law Center.

For more information, visit transgenderlawcenter.org

One response so far

One Response to “Will Leelah Alcorn’s Death Be in Vain? A Question of Transgender Youth Rights”

  1. Frank "Mike" Davison 07 Jan 2015 at 7:07 pm

    I am Frank “Mike” Davis, Next-Door-Neighbor of Leelah Alcorn (and Husband of Annie Davis), writing this Comment: I Appreciate and Applaud Cincinnati Councilman Chris Seelbach’s Support of Leelah Alcorn. Leelah went to school with my children, and Leelah expressed her utter devastation when Leelah’s parents, upon learning she was “gay”, yanked Leelah from school, confiscated Leelah’s cell phone, deleted Leelah’s facebook profile, and isolated Leelah within her bedroom. She was no longer permitted to associate with my son who shared classes with Leelah at Kings High School. My son supported Leelah’s “coming out” and was one of few people who knew about Leelah’s transgender issues. …Leelah was always kind and soft spoken around me. I deeply regret that Leelah was forbidden to visit our home because my family has always wholeheartedly accepted Leelah without judgment and, maybe…just maybe…this tragedy would not have occurred if we could have shown our love and support for Leelah.

    …When the grief has been processed, Leelah’s parents need to admit and to believe that they made a mistake, rather than sanitize Leelah’s suicide, before any healing and closure may occur within our Community.