Early Sunday morning, Leelah Alcorn took her own life. After leaving her parents home, and walking approximately four miles to a nearby interstate, she committed suicide by walking in front of a passing truck. Shortly after her death, her suicide note posted to her blog.
Her story is one that is far too common. According to the CDC,
?LGBTQ youth are also at increased risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviors, suicide attempts, and suicide. A nationally representative study of adolescents in grades 7?12 found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth were more than twice as likely to have attempted suicide as their heterosexual peers. More studies are needed to better understand the risks for suicide among transgender youth. However, one study with 55 transgender youth found that about 25% reported suicide attempts.?
Leelah was a transgender child growing up in an unaccepting home, surrounded by unaccepting people. Well, I don’t really need to tell that part of her story. She does it quite well, and she deserves to have her voice heard.
Below are some excerpts 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.?
?I felt hopeless, 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.?
Oh precious child, if only you could have known that it gets so much better. If only someone could have embraced you. Loved you. Accepted you.
I am so sorry that you felt so isolated and alone. My heart is broken that the world failed you at such a tender age.
Our world must change. Parents, unconditional love is just that ? unconditional. It is not our job to change our children or make them who they become ? our job is to love them, provide for them, and foster their individual growth. That’s it.
While Leelah will never read these words, I hope others do.
Please take a moment to read Leelah’s message to the world in its entirety. It’s pretty important.
Elizabeth Preston is a senior writer and an editor for Liberal America. She is a thirty-something wife and mother of three living in Florida. She is a fierce liberal with a passion?for equality and justice. As?a skeptic by nature she is?often the Facebook friend that rains on the urban legend parade with fact checking. Follow her on?Facebook,?Twitter,?and check out her personal blog,?My Four Ha? Pennies.