I've seen a number of commentators condemn the sharing of Leelah Alcorn's suicide not over the last twenty four hours. Ranging from people who don't want conversion therapy to be banned, to defencive Christians who believe that it could damage their religion, to trans supporters who don't want her note to urge others into taking their own life.
The thing is, Leelah chose to share her letter on the Internet, on a public forum rather than some hand written note that would have been quickly destroyed and denied by her parents. Leelah wanted the world to know who she really was and the horrors that her parents made her face. We wouldn't have known this if it wasn't for her suicide note being shared. Her mothers comment about her 'son' being accidentally hit by a truck would have been the only version of the story known to the world.
Even if some people were aware that Leelah was trans and chose to share that news, to suggest that perhaps she hadn't died in an accident she's be just another name on this years list of people we read on the Transgender Day of Remembrance. Her story could have easily faded away into the background, just another horrible statistic.
By sharing Leelah's note her story has gone viral. The trans community has banded together behind her memory, allies have lent their support, the media have been sharing her story (mostly in very trans positive ways). #RealLiveTransAdult has appeared on Twitter and is full of beautiful, encouraging stories of trans people who are surviving to try and help those who need encouragement. Her suicide note has made Leelah become an icon, she's become the face of transgender suicide.
Not the best thing to be known for granted, however, if that memory can be used to help other, to stop conversion therapy and make people aware of the torment that transgender youth go through then it can be made into something beautiful.
I read her suicide note and it made me cry. It hurt so much to read those words. But then it made me angry. It made me want to never have to read another note like that again. Her words spurred me to share her story, to sign the petitions, to write about her. It made me pass her story on her, to give her memory a chance to live on through other people.
I never knew Leelah, but I cried for her, I want justice for her and I want her to be the last one we loose. That was because of her suicide note. She was right to share her goodbye with the world, and all those of us that have shared it were right too. By staying silent we would let her memory fade, we would let her parents and people like them win.
So if someone asks you if it was right for her suicide note to be shared I hope you will join me in saying 'Yes, it was more than right. It was needed.'
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