Leelah Alcorn, 17, was a transgender teenager living in Ohio, who wrote a heartbreaking and poignant suicide note. She was active on the popular website Tumblr, and then put the note in her Tumblr queue.
Then she walked 3 or 4 miles from her home onto an Ohio interstate where she was struck and killed by a semi-trailer.
After her death, her suicide note published to her tumblr page. Her note read:
“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) Josh Alcorn”
According to Dailymail, the mother of Leelah Alcorn has posted a tribute to her son on her personal Facebook; in her tribute she referred to Leelah as her “son.”
The way that some media sources have chosen to write about Leelah has angered many LGBTQ individuals and organizations, as many people decline to refer to Leelah as a female and instead call her a “him” and use her birth-name.
Many research studies have been done that have documented and validated the struggles of being transgender. Many transgender people report higher rates of homelessness, isolation from family, discrimination and victimization at school or work, physical and sexual violence, and suicide attempts.
There has been a Facebook page created in Leelah Alcorn’s honor with photos and links to a petition that has been chartered to urge for a ban on Transgender Conversion Therapy – an attempt to convince someone that being transgender is a disease that can be cured and that they should undergo sessions to “fix” their gender identity.
Cases like #LeelahAlcorn are all too common and represent everything that is wrong with our society! What a preventable tragedy and disgrace
— Andreja Pejic (@andrejapejic) December 30, 2014
Her own mother wrote on FB that her SON got hit by a truck by accident. Sorry your DAUGHTER killed herself because of YOU. #LeelahAlcorn
— Sushi ♔ Kim (@kardashian_miss) December 30, 2014
if your child feels some way you can’t understand, you have the responsibility to educate yourself about it #LeelahAlcorn
— Anna Russett (@AnnaRussett) December 30, 2014
RIP #LeelahAlcorn. Sadly this isn’t an isolated incident. There are lots of Leelah’s in the world.
— Riot Fest (@RiotFest) December 30, 2014
— Tara Jayn (@tarajayn) December 31, 2014
I just told my 8yo about #LeelahAlcorn We have many trans friends (kids/teens/adults) & we have had many talks about gender. She gets it.
— kimya dawson (@mrskimyadawson) December 30, 2014
Don’t pray for Mr & Mrs Alcorn. Pray for the girl who will be buried in a suit, under a headstone with the wrong name on it. #LeelahAlcorn
— The Sassy Muggle (@TheSassyMuggle) December 31, 2014
#LeelahAlcorn‘s death is so incredibly sad. Religion is brainwashing parents into not accepting their own children and it turns my stomach.
— Tyler Oakley (@tyleroakIcy) December 31, 2014
refuse to be silent about #LeelahAlcorn. her tragic situation is proof of how desperately trans issues NEED to be discussed.
— ✨REINDEER BOY✨ (@kingjar3th) December 31, 2014
#LeelahAlcorn was not a boy named Joshua who was hit by a truck. She was a beautiful girl who was failed hard by all the adults around her.
— Anne Thériault (@anne_theriault) December 30, 2014
— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) December 30, 2014
If you are a young person who is in crisis, feeling suicidal, or in need of a safe and judgment-free place to talk, call The Trevor Lifeline now at 866-488-7386. Can’t speak safely? Find more about Texting and Chat options by clicking here.