A 17-year old Ohio transgender teenager scheduled her suicide note on her Tumblr page. She died after being hit by a truck, but not before blaming her Christian parents.
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Leelah Alcorn was 17. She kept an active Tumblr blog, and scheduled a suicide note to post on Sunday.
"If you are reading this, it means that I have committed suicide and obviously failed to delete this post from my queue," the post reads.
"Please don’t be sad, it’s for the better," she wrote. "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."
Leelah goes on to say that she felt she was a girl since she was four, and didn't learn what being transgender was until she was 14. When she did, she "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.
Her final words in the note were "Fix society. Please." And she begged parents to offer support, not condemnation. "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 was not shy about placing blame on her parents.
"My mom started taking me to a therapist," she said, "but would only take me to christian therapists, (who were all very biased) so I never actually got the therapy I needed to cure me of my depression. I only got more christians telling me that I was selfish and wrong and that I should look to God for help."
"I felt hopeless," she explained, "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."
She said she "eased into coming out as trans," but her parents "felt like I was attacking their image, and that I was an embarrassment to them. They wanted me to be their perfect little straight christian boy, and that’s obviously not what I wanted."
In fact, Leelah's mother on Facebook posted this note (now hidden) the day her daughter died.
"My sweet 16 year old son, Joshua Ryan Alcorn went home to heaven this morning. He was out for an early morning walk and was hit by a truck. Thank you for the messages and kindness and concern you have sent our way. Please continue to keep us in your prayers."
And she explained the isolation her parents made her endure.
"So they took me out of public school, took away my laptop and phone, and forbid me of getting on any sort of social media, completely isolating me from my friends. This was probably the part of my life when I was the most depressed, and I’m surprised I didn’t kill myself. I was completely alone for 5 months. No friends, no support, no love. Just my parent’s disappointment and the cruelty of loneliness."
Saying her "death needs to mean something," Leelah wrote, "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. 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."
She also scheduled an apology note, writing, "Mom and Dad: Fuck you. You can’t just control other people like that. That’s messed up."
Scrolling through her Tumblr page may be difficult (trigger warning), but it's important for people to see a part of her hopes and dreams, and her pain.
There is a Justice for Leelah Alcorn Facebook page.
Need help or want to talk?
For transgender people the Trans Lifeline can help:
US: (877) 565-8860
Canada: (877) 330-6366
The Trevor Project for LGBTQ youth: 1-866-488-7386
The GLBT National Hotline: 888-843-4564
This post has been updated to add the Facebook screenshot.
Hat tip: Tom Morgan