Leelah Alcorn. 14 years old. A transgender suicide. A story that broke my heart. Born Josh, a gender identified male, to a well-meaning family. In rural Ohio. To a conservative Christian family.
Leelah threw herself in front of a truck. Her mother announced on social media that her son Josh had been accidentally hit by a truck. Even in death, her family wasn’t supportive. In my opinion.
The following is from Leelah’s suicide note:
“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.”
— Leelah Alcorn, 2014
I know what it’s like to grow up feeling you are different. Leelah’s story touched me. And the world.
The outpouring of emotion has been amazing. Around the world, vigils and candlelight marches have taken place. From Columbus Circle in NYC to Auckland, New Zealand. Hundreds have rallied around the idea of trans-youth, and the heartbreak of suicide. Last night, at the GOLDEN GLOBES, Jill Soloway, writer of the TV show TRANSPARENT dedicated the award to Leelah.
In her suicide note, Leelah asked that her death not be meaningless. She asked, basically, and I’m paraphrasing, to “fix society”.
It ain’t fixed Leelah. But, my sweet girl, it’s changing. I hope you can see, from where you are, it’s changing. I, for one, will never forget you. Rest little one.