In a heartbreaking and emotional suicide note teenager Leelah Alcorn pleads with the world to make sure that other transgender teens never have to go through the hell that drove her to take her own life.
Aged just seventeen, Leelah was a victim of insidious abuse and hatred based solely on the fact that she was transgender, but not from her peers, not from strangers, but from her own family. People that were supposed to love her and care for her unconditionally put her through so much emotional torment that the only way she knew to stop it was to take her own life.
On Sunday Leelah left her home early in the morning and walked four miles to the Interstate 71 where she waited for a semi-truck to pass before stepping out in front of it. Despite initial claims from her mother saying that it was an accident a Leelah had arranged for a suicide to appear on her tumblr blog 'Satan's Wifey' in the event that she died. The message it left was very clear.
'If you are reading this, it means that I have committed suicide and obviously failed to delete this post from my queue.
Please don’t be sad, it’s for the better. 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.
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.
My mom started taking me to a therapist, 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.
When I was 16 I realized that my parents would never come around, and that I would have to wait until I was 18 to start any sort of transitioning treatment, which absolutely broke my heart. The longer you wait, the harder it is to transition. 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.
I formed a sort of a “fuck you” attitude towards my parents and came out as gay at school, thinking that maybe if I eased into coming out as trans it would be less of a shock. Although the reaction from my friends was positive, my parents were pissed. They 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.
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.
At the end of the school year, my parents finally came around and gave me my phone and let me back on social media. I was excited, I finally had my friends back. They were extremely excited to see me and talk to me, but only at first. Eventually they realized they didn’t actually give a shit about me, and I felt even lonelier than I did before. The only friends I thought I had only liked me because they saw me five times a week.
After a summer of having almost no friends plus the weight of having to think about college, save money for moving out, keep my grades up, go to church each week and feel like shit because everyone there is against everything I live for, I have decided I’ve had enough. I’m never going to transition successfully, even when I move out. I’m never going to be happy with the way I look or sound. I’m never going to have enough friends to satisfy me. I’m never going to have enough love to satisfy me. I’m never going to find a man who loves me. I’m never going to be happy. Either I live the rest of my life as a lonely man who wishes he were a woman or I live my life as a lonelier woman who hates herself. There’s no winning. There’s no way out. I’m sad enough already, I don’t need my life to get any worse. People say “it gets better” but that isn’t true in my case. It gets worse. Each day I get worse.
That’s the gist of it, that’s why I feel like killing myself. Sorry if that’s not a good enough reason for you, it’s good enough for me. As for my will, I want 100% of the things that I legally own to be sold and the money (plus my money in the bank) to be given to trans civil rights movements and support groups, I don’t give a shit which one. 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. Fix society.
Please.Leelah wasn't simply killed in an accident, but that it was the reaction from her family, and the torment that they put her through that pushed her to step in front of that truck. Forced into isolation by being denied access to her friends, to social media and being made to go to Christian counsellors that told her she was wrong and selfish pushed her to do what she did.
I'd like to be able to say that Leelah is a rare case, but I can't. The rate of suicides for transgender people, and transgender teens in particular are staggering. Leelah wasn't alone in her situation, she wasn't the only person in the world having to face the fear of understanding that she was born into the wrong body and she wasn't the only person being forced to 'seek help' from people who have no intention of helping her. The problem was her parents made her feel alone.
Leelah was isolated, she was seperated from people who could have given her support and advice. She was made to feel like there was no way for her to win, that she would always be in pain for the rest of her life. She said that in her case things wouldn't get better, but she was wrong. We've seen the floods of messages on Twitter that prove that things do get better. #RealLiveTransAdult shows that, and I truly hope that it can help others in Leelah's situation.
We were too late to save Leelah, we couldn't help her but maybe we can stop this from happening again. Go and share the stories from #RealLiveTransAdult. Sign the petition to pass Leelah's Law. Challenge people that accuse trans people of being 'wrong' or 'selfish'. Stop conversion therapy. Please, do anything you can to stop this horrible tragedy from happening to other vulnerable children. Please, don't just let Leelah be just another horrible statistic, make her death mean something. Make this the last one.
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