The tragedy is that Leelah Alcorn felt like she had to become a statistic to matter.
We know that Leelah Alcorn was 17. We know that her parents announced that their son had been hit by a truck and killed. We know that a news outlet treated her with more caring and dignity than her own family, publishing a follow-up to their original story when more information emerged, and referring Leelah as “she” throughout that story.
We know from the letter she wrote that Leelah was desperately unhappy and felt that she had no one to turn to, no support, and no way out.
People question ‘why we have to talk about “this trans stuff” and that the media is “poisoning kid’s minds” or giving them bad ideas or in some way warping them. Why do “these people get so much attention“? Why do schools “cater to their whims“? Why can’t they “just shut up”?’
It’s exactly these kinds of statements and attitudes that contribute to the high rates of bullying, depression, suicide attempts among trans*youth. When you couple unsupportive families with hostile media messages that tell these kids that there’s something wrong with them, you’ve got an even more toxic atmosphere. And for a kid who’s already having a bad time, maybe with school or peers or just feeling like they have no one puberty and adolescence are hard enough without adding another layer of “stuff-I-can’t-talk-about”), the negative messages are going to ring louder than the positive.
After tragedies like this, there will be “should haves” and “could haves”.
What we need to keep more of these from happening are more “ams” and “wills”, and the determination to follow through.
From Leelah Alcorn, left on her Tumblr. When this is the message we get, the message we are giving has to change.
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. I could go into detail explaining why I feel that way, but this note is probably going to be lengthy enough as it is. To put it simply, I feel like a girl trapped in a boy’s body, and I’ve felt that way ever since I was 4. I never knew there was a word for that feeling, nor was it possible for a boy to become a girl, so I never told anyone and I just continued to do traditionally “boyish” things to try to fit in.
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.
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.
When someone feels like they will matter and can make more of a difference as a number than a person, something has to change.