Dan Savage has extremely strong words for the parents and therapists of Leelah Alcorn, the trans teen who died by suicide after leaving a note on Tumblr.
The suicide of Leelah Alcorn this week actually made headlines – something, sadly, that the mainstream news media too frequently ignores. Alcorn is the transgender teen who committed suicide by walking in front of a truck early Sunday morning. On her Tumblr page, she had scheduled a suicide note to post, which it did when she was no longer alive to unschedule – or postpone – it.
Alcorn also scheduled an apology post, which was published sometime after her suicide note. It was an apology to some, but not to her parents, who apparently had caused her great misery.
"Mom and Dad: Fuck you. You can’t just control other people like that. That’s messed up," were her final words to her parents in the apology note.
Dan Savage on Twitter went on a bit of a rant, posting tweets saying Leelah's parents should be prosecuted for her death.
#LeelahAlcorn's parents threw her in front of that truck. They should be ashamed—but 1st they need to be shamed. Charges should be brought.— Dan Savage (@fakedansavage) December 31, 2014
He explains why:
It risks incentivizing suicide—take revenge on hateful parents by killing yourself—but an example needs 2 be made of #LeelahAlcorn's parents— Dan Savage (@fakedansavage) December 31, 2014
We know that parental hostility & rejection doubles a queer kid's already quadrupled risk of suicide—rejecting your queer kid is abuse.— Dan Savage (@fakedansavage) December 31, 2014
And he wants the therapists who tried to "counsel" her with religion to be prosecuted too.
But that's not the extent of his warning.
Finally: #LeelahAlcorn has siblings. We don't leave kids in the care of parents who just killed one of their other children.— Dan Savage (@fakedansavage) December 31, 2014
Even in death, Leelah Alcorn's parents refused to acknowledge their daughter, her mother posting this to Facebook before making the post private:
"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."
Among Leelah's last words were these:
"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."
As Savage says, no one should ever commit suicide to try to "take revenge on hateful parents." Nor should anyone commit suicide to try to make a point or to make a difference. There are other ways. Better ways.
That said, Leelah Alcorn's final words are being heard. It's tragic they weren't when, and by whom, they needed to be the most.