Alcorn’s death puts transgender issue in limelight


On the tragic day of December 28, transgender teen Leelah Alcorn took her own life. As a victim of hate and discrimination, especially from her own parents, Alcorn decided that she no longer wanted to live if she could not do so in peace. She made the final decision when she walked in front of fast moving traffic.

This appalling event claimed worldwide attention after Alcorn left a suicide note on the blogging site, Tumblr. It stated, among other things, that she would never be happy with the way she looks or sounds and that she was never going to find a man who loved her.

Her suicide not also stated that she wanted to be remembered and used as a symbol for transgender justice. She wanted everyone to be aware of the mistreatment of transgender people everywhere and the trials that they are put through in order to feel comfortable in their body. She wanted kids that are going through the same thing she went through to know that they are not alone and that you are never too young to find your gender identity.

When she came out as a transgender girl to her mother, Mrs. Alcorn reacted extremely negatively and sent her to Christian conversion therapy to try and condition her to realize that God had made her a boy and that God made no mistakes. This thrust Leelah into depression. Her parents also denied her access to friends and electronics, cutting her off from the world. The transition therapy and surgery she would need to be happy was also denied.

While I feel for the family and am not trying to directly blame them for Leelah’s early demise, their blatant mistreatment and lack of understanding played a role in the death of their child. To rub the salt in the wound, the Alcorns also buried Leelah as a boy; engraving her birth name, Joshua Jeremy Alcorn, into the headstone. It was the ultimate disrespect to Leelah and has many people, including the LGBTQ community, in hysterics. Many celebrities have stated their opinion on the matter, including Kim Kardashian and Lavern Cox, Cox being a transgender woman herself.

In the suicide note, which has been removed by the parents only to be reposted by Leelah’s online supporters, she asks that all of her belongings, as well as any money she possessed, be donated to any transgender charities. Leelah’s name will not be forgotten, nor her message. We can’t let transphobic people drown out the cries for help that only ask for acceptance and understanding. Take the time to learn more about transgender people and help raise awareness. So many brothers, sisters, and siblings are still suffering and it’s time to put an end to the ignorance and discrimination.

There is a petition floating around the internet that requests a ban on transgender conversion therapy. Sign this petition if you want to help put a stop to this cruel and degrading practice. Make sure to treat all transpeople with respect and use the correct pronouns. No more scared, depressed transkids being too terrified to be who they are. It’s time we put a end to transphobia, and it starts with you!