Late transgender teen Leelah Alcorn: “My death needs to mean something”.

17-year-old transgender person and artist, Leelah Alcorn, was hit by a semi-trailer truck whilst out walking around 2:00 am on the morning of Sunday, December 28th. Pronounced dead at the scene, police are investigating the circumstances surrounding their death.

A Tumblr post scheduled for after their time of death details a gut-wrenching suicide note and final wishes, including details surrounding their devout Christian parents negative reaction to the individual coming out as transgender. Going so far as to pull their child from school and forbid them to use social media, after coming out to their peers as gay, Leelah said they felt alone and accused their parents of blocking their transition and refusing to acknowledge their true gender.

leelah alcorn suicide

Source: Tumblr

As Alcorn explained in their suicide note, they felt “like a girl trapped in a boy’s body” ever since age four. After a decade of doing their best to fit in and “do traditionally ‘boyish’ things,” Alcorn wrote,

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.

When I was 16 I realized that my parents would never come around, and that I would have to wait until I was 18 to start any sort of transitioning treatment, which absolutely broke my heart. The longer you wait, the harder it is to transition. I felt hopeless, that I was just going to look like a man in drag for the rest of my life. On my 16th birthday, when I didn’t receive consent from my parents to start transitioning, I cried myself to sleep.”

In a second post, scheduled immediately after their suicide note, Alcorn apologises to their siblings and friends, urging them to not be sad. However to their parents, the message was straightforward,

“Mom and Dad: Fuck you. You can’t just control other people like that. That’s messed up.”

Their mother Carla Alcorn posted a tribute to her daughter on Facebook, however referred to them as “son” and used their birth name, making no mention of suicide.

leelah alcorn suicide

Source: Tumblr

Leelah requested that their possessions be sold and the proceeds, as well as the contents of their bank account, be donated to trans civil rights movements and support groups. At the end of the note, Leelah pleads to society and urges all parents to do better.

“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.”

Finally, with a call to action,

“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.”

Our deepest condolences go out to all those affected.

If you’re struggling with issues of identity, head to Half of Us or GenderQueer.
To learn more about transgender, check out GLAAD.
If you’re dealing with depression, or need someone to talk to, please contact Lifeline, Beyond Blue or Black Dog Institute
Remember, you are never alone in this.

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