Leelah Alcorn, a seventeen-year-old transgender girl from Ohio, has committed suicide and left a suicide note detailing the bullying and abuse she received from her parents and peers. This is a terrible and tragic end to the year and a reminder of just how lethal and toxic transmisogyny (and specifically transmisogyny, not “LGBT bullying” or even “transphobia”) is.
Leelah found out what being transgender meant at the age of fourteen and was so happy that she cried. While she found some support from friends and online, the attacks she faced from her family and from others were too much for her and three years later she committed suicide. Leelah was an artist and should have had a bright future ahead of her.
Her parents apparently completely denied her identity and even refused to let her transition, telling her that “it was a phase” that she “would never truly be a girl” and that “God doesn’t make mistakes.” Leelah had to endure hateful messages like this from her parents for years. Her parents even took her to Christian “therapists” who told her the same thing and that she should look to God for help. This is the exact opposite of what people should tell trans youth. Leelah pleaded that any parents reading her note would not tell their kids the same thing because it would only lead to them hating themselves.
Her mother even took to Facebook to misgender and misname her daughter, committing one more act of violence against Leelah even after she had died.
Life seemed hopeless for Leelah. She thought that she would never be able to transition or live the life she wanted and deserved. We need to change society so that young trans girls no longer feel that way. We live in a garbage society that tells young girls like her that they’ll never find friends, that they’ll never feel beautiful, that they’ll never find love and that they’ll never be happy.
In her note, she demanded that we bring about change.
The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren’t treated the way I was, they are 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 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 felt that she had no hope, that things don’t get better for trans teens like herself. In order to show trans youth that they can have successful and happy lives, many trans women and other trans people are taking to twitter using the hashtag #RealLiveTransAdult. There are writers, engineers, business people, people in happy relationships, people with tons of friends and many other happy trans adults showing that there is the possibility of a happy future.
In her note, Leelah asked that all her money and possessions be donated to Trans Rights groups. While it’s doubtful her parents will support that wish, you can donate to groups or causes in her name, including the Trans Women of Color Collective, The Sylvia Rivera Law Project, Trans Youth Support Network, Trans Student Educational Resources, and many others.
Rest in peace and power, Leelah, you deserved so much better.
This is so deeply, unfathomably tragic and my heart breaks for Leelah, that she felt like she had no other choice and no chance to thrive. Leelah, this is not your fault. Depression and suicide happen when pain and turmoil outweigh coping resources, and you definitely deserved better. We all failed you. Everyone failed you, the world wasn’t ready for you and that’s horrific.
But we won’t forget you. Your words are already making waves. Soon they’ll become a tsunami.
I can just hope, for the time being, you find love and happiness and acceptance and all the things you deserve in the next life.
I was waiting for Autostraddle’s post about Leelah. My heart shattered when I read her story. Our kids shouldn’t feel like we’ve pushed them down a dead end road. I have more feelings, but none of the right words – just, we have to do better.
Rest in love and peace, Leelah.
Thank you for writing about Leelah, Mey. I’ve been reading #RealLiveTransAdult on twitter and thinking how rad it would be if Leelah was here to see just how much her life matters, to see how she is probably saving other people’s lives, that people are raising her name today in honor of who she was. I don’t judge her for doing what felt like the only thing she could do. I do judge us, all of us, as a community, as a society. We are responsible. We have to do better.
New member here, and when I woke up this morning, the very first thing I saw when I checked tumblr was Leelah’s suicide note and it broke my heart. She was too young and I felt so enraged when I saw that her mother still didn’t see the fault in her actions and continued to pretty much abuse her daughter and go against her final wishes. Many media platforms and reports also misgendered and used the wrong name for her and continue to try and make her suicide about something other than blatant transmisogyny. I think Leelah helped to renew debates over the harm of reparative therapy and focus on how to help young trans women who find themselves to be victims of just awful cruelty, but she still deserved so much better. R.I.P.
LeeLah literally bears her soul in her suicide note and the mother continues to deny reality. In perfect world, they should be prosecuted for child neglect. The least they could have done was take her to real therapist.
THIS. I don’t believe in God; I don’t believe they’ll be punished by any god. So I wished they would be punished in THIS life. The pain of losing a child is not enough suffering for this kind of people. Abuse and hatred in the name of religion is the worst of the worst.
I keep reading of how “wonderful” this new pope is, how “progressive”. When is he going to speak out about this sort of behavior ???
I feel nothing but anger right now and I wish I could turn it into something productive ; but for now I just want to spit in a lot of people’s faces.
I don’t believe in this carceral system in particular and carceral systems in general, but I am pro-punitive justice. This is murder. Let them be charged with it.
I see people commenting about how “we” failed her. With all due respect, I think more of the blame must be placed on her bigoted Christian parents. We need to have a serious conversation about the damaging effects of religion in our society, especially with respect to LGBT people. Enough with the sugarcoating of the real issues. Fundamentalist religion is a form of child abuse.
I’m not denying that their fundamentalist religion played a major role and maybe even the most decisive role (and Leelah herself touched on it), but in my comment below I think I give a bit of why ‘we’ failed her (not just her abusive parents). (Disclosure: I am not a trans girl, so of course anything I say comes with a grain of salt)
I don’t think it’s sugarcoating or skirting around the issue to say that there really is a collective failing if we are maintaining an environment where we terrify trans children into thinking that death is better than not holding up to cis standards of beauty.
But it isn’t “cis standards of beauty” that she was aiming for…it was cis standards of believability.
In my mind there was an equivalency (”the beautiful trans woman is the only believable trans woman” and vice-versa), but that’s bad wording on my part. Thanks for the correction!
Religion is just the excuse they use for their transmisogyny. I was raised atheist by atheists, and if I hadn’t been in desperate denial at her age, the only difference in reaction would’ve been that the counselor wasn’t explicitly religious. Some of the things she mentioned about her parents (“you’ll never be a woman”) ARE things my parents said to me. All that got them to take me seriously and recognize it was true was my own (failed) suicide attempt. Religious “justification” can certainly make things worse and make people more resistant to change, but it’s not the real root cause.
You want things not-sugarcoated? Fine. It looks to me like you’re trying to deflect attention from societal transmisogyny, from the idea that anyone BUT fundamentalists could possibly be a problem.
Fighting through everything, trying hold onto little rays of sunshine and not seeing any light or life at the end of the tunnel is exhausting. So I guess you tagged out and tagged us in.
Only thought I’ve got other than I hope hell is real, as fiery as Baptist have insisted, your parents will be there and you were just a baby.
But so was I.
I hope another life exists and you get a good one.
i want to go back in time and give her a hug :(
This is so sad. Poor baby girl.
What particularly broke my heart is when I read that she became deeply distraught when her parents denied her access to physical transition at the age of 16, because she reasoned that she would have to wait until she was 18 and by that time she believed that she would be too old and could never be pretty.
This is not just an issue of circulating information on how hormones work (because 18 is very young and no reason to pose a problem), we (people who are not trans women) as a society really need to make deep changes in the way we see and celebrate trans women: there is something really horrible and wrong going on that the prospect of not being pretty (that is, looking cis) could fill a trans teenage girl with such lethal despair.
Also in society in general- is being old, or not pretty, really something we should consider so shameful? (not intending to detract from Leelah’s 100% valid and understandable feelings, so forgive me if this was a pointless aside)
whoops, may have slightly misread rhymeriver’s comment and can’t find an edit/delete button (i’m new)
“This is not just an issue of circulating information on how hormones work (because 18 is very young and no reason to pose a problem),”
18 can be fine…or can be tragically late. No two people go through the same puberty.
“we (people who are not trans women) as a society really need to make deep changes in the way we see and celebrate trans women: there is something really horrible and wrong going on that the prospect of not being pretty (that is, looking cis) could fill a trans teenage girl with such lethal despair.”
Being stuck going through boy puberty with no visible avenue to escape the experience will always fill trans teenage girls with suicidal despair. If they can see a way to halt puberty or undo the damage already done, it can be possible to cope.
(Now I am speaking of trans girls like myself here, ones who felt from a young age a desire to be like their mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmas.)
Sorry for the rant…I think I just get tired of people conflating vanity (wanting to be pretty) with wanting to look enough like other women in your family to be believed by friends, family and strangers.
I’m really sorry that my wording could be read as a characterization of Leelah, and other trans girls with the same wish, as vain. I hope I haven’t hurt you, and this is not at all what I mean or think.
What I meant is that there is poison in the socially prevalent idea that to be a trans girl whose physical form gives any possible inkling that she is trans is a bad thing, or that it makes you a separate kind from other women and kin.
I’m certainly not blaming trans girls and women who feel this and/or who want to be easily believed by friends, family and strangers! That’s a natural desire and basic right to thrive within a crappy world, and I support any measures to ensure that happens. I’m just sad that these friends, family, and strangers don’t believe regardless, and that has to do with the fact that the standards for ‘believable woman’ are incredibly tight. What I meant in my original comment is that people who aren’t trans women have a responsibility to crush these standards to make things less horrible for trans teen girls.
A much wiser and cool trans woman that I consider a mentor once told me something a while ago (I’m 20) that shook me. She just said: ‘We shouldn’t have to live our puberties as a slow poisoning of ourselves. We shouldn’t have to do all of this [hormone blockers and early transition] just to not hate ourselves. Whenever we feel like this we should ask ourselves who taught us to feel this way.’
We stand in solidarity.
This has touched me very deeply. I cried as I relayed this article to my wife. What a hateful, ugly world we live in sometimes. I hope this beautiful girl found peace and wish that she could see what she has inspired in the aftermath. Shame on her parents.
I’m crying too; Hugs to everyone.
Some tragedies I can weather better than others but this one truly cuts me to the bone. : ( Her story deeply resonates with me as that could have been me (the main difference being that I was able to successfully escape from an EXTREMELY toxic Christian family environment). May she find a peace that she was unable to in this life. May we honor her memory by eliminating ‘conversion’ torture directed at our LGBT youth in the US.
This popped up on Facebook: http://theleelahproject.tumblr.com/post/106675478836/the-leelah-projects-basic-make-up-essentials. Absolutely awesome.
I’ve been on bed rest all day and kept seeing this on tumblr and it truly breaks my heart as a queer trans* person.
One of the horrible after effects of this story is the truck drive may get into trouble, & her parents may not even face anything. I wish there was a way we could use Leelah’s suicide note to indict them of child abuse.
So sad. :(
And I can’t believe what her mother posted on FB afterwards, just despicable.
This is so fucking tragic. Rest in peace, Leelah. I’m sorry the people in your life did this to you.
My hope is that young trans people see an outpouring of support around this tragic death, and they realize that there is hope, and minds are changing. We lose too many good people needlessly, and too many useless slobs live.
This is so sad and I don’t have anything productive to say. It just sucks that this happens. Also this post by Mey is the only thing I’ve read that hasn’t misgendered her or called her by the wrong name.
Actually the Daily Mail (which is a terrible rag by all standards, but where I read about the story first) reported on her death using correct language throughout, as far as I saw. I was very surprised.
Dear media: when the Daily Fail is better at respecting someone’s gender than you, you’ve fucked up.
I also saw an article from Cosmo that used her correct pronouns and didn’t use her dead name. Some media sources are getting better.
NBC Nightly News also used the correct language last night.
I didn’t know her personally, but I know of her now and I’ve known girls like her.
I can’t quite describe what it’s like to see someone die of the same trauma you endured. To know that she could have had better, could have lived, but was so hurt, so constantly in pain that she could endure no more.
It bores out part of my soul. And so I grieve as if I knew her, because in a way I knew her better than anyone, a part of her that those who should have known her best tried their very best to destroy, not knowing that what they sought to purge was right at the core of her.
They took it away from her, and all the light went out of her, and she saw no reason to persist. And that is a crime that cannot be articulated through English. The gravity of it is beyond words. The horror of it.
I cried when I read about Leelah yesterday. My parents cried too when I showed them these articles. My mother, who has had some trouble with my trans status in the past, bawled her eyes out for this poor girl. She couldn’t believe that Mrs. Alcorn could be so horrible and disrespectful to her own daughter, even in death. It’s kind of crummy that a good part of the cis community doesn’t really bat an eyelash until a girl with such a bright future is lost, but I understand that no one wants to believe that they could be a part of the problem. Sad times.
Rest in peace, Leelah.
I’ve been so overwhelmed by the fact that the suicide note went viral. So much overflowing sadness and grief and love and support. What does it mean that #LeelahAlcorn has been trending on Facebook and Twitter for 24 hours and her death continues to be the subject of lots of blog posts and news articles, both in the LGBT online world and in mainstream news sites? How come this outpouring of grief has not occurred after a hate crime or murder of a trans women of color? Maybe this is not the moment for analysis–I’m just so struck by the national and worldwide conversation her suicide sparked.
I’m not sure myself but with LGBT rights in general suicides seem get more attention than hate crimes or murders. I also think leelah’s words were powerful. She was very clear about the harm her parents and Christian community committed. She directly challenged the world to protect transgender people.
( I do worry about that last part. I thinks there is a risk of other children following the posts and wanting to improve the world by killing themselves.)
Though I think you raise an important issue that we all need to consider, this specific case is pretty straightforward: she timed a thoughtful and heartbreaking suicide note to be released shortly after her death on a site designed for viral content. Of course it was going to proliferate more quickly and more widely.
This his been tearing me apart for the last two days; I’ve cried every time I see her pictures, and just so desperately wish I could give her a hug and make everything better. I’m so, so disgusted by the world we live in right now.
I think now is not the time for that kind of analysis. My skin crawls when people do some kind of calculus to judge whether a person’s death got enough attention (or got too much attention).
All I am going to say is that most people still blame young trans girls when they are assaulted or murdered. That needs to change, but it hasn’t yet. For now, an innocent who gives up while begging for change for others is just sad enough to make cis folk care.
She would be getting far less attention if she weren’t white, yes. Non-twoc absolutely need to devote more of our attention to them. And this is probably not the best place, no.
This story is stirring up a metric fuck-ton of shit for me. It comes to me as I’m in the middle of reading a bunch of Julia Serano’s stuff, and my brain keeps trying to get me out of my heart and into my head. (“How does Serano’s critique of trans-misogyny intersect with this girl’s story?” “What layers of my own privilege get exposed if I contrast her story with my own?”)
Except that lately I’ve been finding it a lot harder to stay in that head-not-heart space, and I’m just crying for Leelah and the pain that overwhelmed her and pulled her under.
Then there’s the part of me that is so glad to see the outpouring of response from throughout the queer community (not just trans-activists), and that hopes against hope that the high visibility her story is getting will help to drive some actual change … that, indeed, her death will mean something.
Such a goddamned tragedy. Sorry, I gotta go cry some more.
I can’t stop crying for Leelah. I wish she had had parents who loved and cared for her instead letting their own prejudices win. I wish all trans kids had the support and love they need and deserve.
What a beautiful girl. What a sad and terrible story. I want to punch her parents in the face.
As the mother of two (yes, both of my kids are trans) teenagers who are struggling with their place in the world being trans I breaks my heart that the message they have been getting for years is that being trans is such a dire situation that most trans people do not make it. Over and over we see the statistics and hear stories like Leelah’s. My kids are both suicidal and have been for years. Even with three supportive parents they feel that they will never have the happiness that is basic for most people. To be accepted, understood and loved. I hope that the dialog and support for young LGBT people that comes from Leelah’s story going viral will be a moment of change in many hearts. Our own community need so do so much more to embrace and support the young people who are struggling. I hope #RealLiveTransAdult can go deeper than a twitter feed and help people see that there are trans success stories and that it all makes it easier for kids in crappy situations like Leelah’s to have some hope.
How long shall they kill our prophets,
While we stand aside and look?
This breaks my heart. I can do more, and I will.
“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.”
This is a problem where the trans community can do better. I’m extremely grateful trans youth can transition at young ages (if… they have the family, community and resources to do so). But a lot of trans people can’t. Moreover, it takes tremendous strength of will to go through transition, something not everyone has or has developed at 17 (I know I didn’t and I was very much in her situation… albeit without fanatic parents but certainly growing up in a much less open and forgiving era with a huge lack of information).
It’s very key trans youth understand there are viable, positive options even if you can’t transition by the end of puberty. I see way too many trans girl teens on Reddit making statements like “I’ll be 18 next month, I’m too old to transition… I don’t want to look like a man in a dress.” There needs to be sites (and especially real MENTORS) of all ages, races and situations who’ve been down similar paths to persons who feel cornered and helpless. Someone like Leela (who probably isn’t on Twitter anyway… most teens aren’t interested in it) need to have a place where they can find someone who’s 4-6 years on from their current experience and can give achievable steps and share common experiences. Unfortunately, far too many sites (like Reddit) where trans girls congregate tend to have a lot of competitiveness and lookism built into them which can be daunting.
As to Leela’s parents… how much is there we can do about them? I know many trans people who were sent (or went) to Christian/LDS therapists who had little or no experience with trans people and were dead set against the realities of gender identity. Maybe, at some point, such people can be identified as forms of ‘reparative therapy’ (although I doubt it in this version of the US, esp. Ohio) but even outlawing that is a slooow process which has only just begun.
I had the same reaction you did, Gina: the idea that 18 is “too late” to transition and be perceived as a woman is just plain wrong, and can be very harmful. Especially for those who simply aren’t able to transition at that age because of the circumstances they’re in. It’s never, ever too late, as long as you’re alive. Maybe the #RealLiveTransAdult hashtag on Twitter, and the stories people are telling there, will help some realize that transitioning when you’re 21 or 25 or even 30 — which, as far away as that seems to a teenager, used to be thought of as early transition — is still better than the alternative. I hope so.
And I do understand something about how she felt (even though my family was pretty much the opposite of her conservative Christian family), given that when I was 11 years old and already knew about estrogen and hoped to take it someday, I was given testosterone instead every day for the next three years. I hated it, and despised the male puberty it caused — although my voice never changed to a male voice, fortunately — and had no hope at all of ever being able to be myself for many years. Decades. (The silver lining was that all that testosterone made me stop growing prematurely, and I ended up only 5’2″ tall, which meant that when I did transition eventually, I actually had a pretty easy time of it. So I guess I had the last laugh.)
I feel exactly how you feel reading that. I have basically no applicable experience but I’m trying to find people who can make an information resource to get the word out about exactly that — that you aren’t doomed if you can’t transition as a kid. I really, REALLY hope I can overcome my inexperience and do something meaningful about it.
Can we start something like the ice bucket challenge to raise support for LGBT youth programs and suicide prevention?
This is where hate gets us. Every person has a place in this world. It does not matter your gender, sexuality, race, or religion. When we hate, we become toxic. Let us not pass on this same hatred toward Leelah’s mother or family. Their child is gone and their own hatred played a role. They will have to confront this profoundly tragic fact someday. All my love to Leelah’s friends, family, and those that bullied her. May they all find a way to peace and compassion.
Leelah’s story is so deeply affecting. I will make a conscious pledge to always stand up for transgender rights and fight for safe spaces for these kids that are so often hurting for just wanting to be their true selves. Here’s to a bit more love, understanding, and compassion in 2015.
Her parents don’t deserve to be defended. Bullies don’t deserve compassion. As Leelah said herself, F*** them.
I don’t see where Jackie is defending the parents. From my experience of being bullied in high school I’ve come to the conclusion that “deserve” is one of the most meaningless words in the english language. At a certain point I had to reconcile the angry which lead me to think my tormentors didn’t “deserve” to live with my more general tendency to believe no one “deserved” what I was put through. That’s why I know from experience what Jackie means about hate becoming toxic.
Maybe your tormenters could be forgiven. But it is cruel to other victims to suggest they should forgive those who hurt or crippled them.
Some crimes are unforgivable. It is condescending to pretend that your experience gives you the right to talk down to others, especially those who have suffered irreparable harm.
…not defending her parents in the slightest. They are clearly very disturbed, and we have seen the consequences of that hate.
Christians at one point in history were viewed as the outsider. They were viewed with animosity- had to pick between renouncing their faiths or being thrown to the lions. Then over time, they came into power and the groups they regarded as the outsiders were persecuted. Hate is a mean, cyclical thing that breeds more hate. We cannot be the ones to keep spending it.
Hate can protect you from those would do you harm. It may not be ideal, but it is better than being dead.
It is a position of privilege to feel safe enough to not hate those who would hurt you.
I would not want any child to have to hate others to survive, but I do not begrudge those who have to do that. In a perfect world all crimes could be forgiven by the victims of those crimes, but I do not think those who commit horrible crimes should ever find peace. Some things are unforgivable.
Sorry, but I have to respectful disagree. Anger can protect you. It can help you survive, but hate can’t. I do believe there is a difference. Also while I do believe there are such things as unforgivable crimes, I also believe you can separate people from acts. That doesn’t mean wanting them to find peace. It means wanting to find peace for yourself rather than going on the rest of your life looking for retribution. Yes self protection should come first, but after you have reached that safety there has to be some way of moving forward. It’s never easy and I know some people never find a way and that saddens me. Almost as much as the abuse in the first place because it means you let your abuse still have a hold on you. I don’t believe survivors needs to forgive for there attacks sack, far from it. I believe when you’re survivor you have to forgive for you’re own health and security. I think many counselors of survivors of all sorts of hateful violence will say the same thing.
But hey, we should all believe what we want right.
Mike, not everyone has the freedom to forget the harm done to them. As someone crippled over twenty years ago when I was thirteen, just let me say…I would forget it if I could. I will never feel safe. It is just something I live with.
I’m glad you can feel safe, that is wonderful for you, but I will never be that lucky.
Back on topic, her parents aren’t looking for forgiveness, they still don’t think they did anything wrong. I can and will hate them for their blind devotion to a god that requires harming children.
Leelah said f**k you to her parents. I am not going to second guess her.
I couldn’t replay to your comment below, but for what’s it’s worth I’m sorry about what happened to you. I now other different circumstances given what I was growing up with something similar could have happened to me and the though of not being able to defend myself in the future due to my own personal disability is still something that scares the hell out of me even now.
BTW while I may be able to forgive, that doesn’t mean I will EVER forget some of the things I went through. Even from someone in my own family. I may stand by my original statement that we need to forgive what do to us, that does NOT mean I think we need to forget.
I also believe we can only forgive those who’ve hurt us personally. Not what they’ve done to the people we care for. I completely support not being forgiving in that case and I don’t second guess Leelah either.
Mike, thank you for seeing through all my bluster and hot air. Truth be told, I can’t manage to feel hatred or even anger towards those who hurt me or took away my access to education. All I really feel is fear.
Thank you for saying that you understood the inability to forgive those who hurt others. Back when I transitioned so many teenagers and college students were hurt by their families and by faceless bureaucrats…and though I never could muster anger at things that happened to me, I did feel anger whenever other kids had their opportunities taken from them.
Thank you again for seeing through my attempt at righteous indignation.
I am heartsick over Leelah’s death and this tragedy shows the stark contrast which hope brings to a transperson when they have parental support versus the hopelessness one has when the parents are, not only not supportive, but actively fighting the transition.
Leelah won’t be counted at the 2015 TDOR, but should. Her parents assisted in her death as much as those who would supply rocks to the stoners. What really enrages me is the shallow theological “reasoning” the parents believed which led to their decision to isolate their child in the name of keeping her away from the devil, a.k.a trans support.
There is a huge difference between selfishness and self preservation and the reparative therapist simply did not understand gender disphoria, or worse, does not believe it exists as such. Without getting into a long scriptural discourse, a thorough and properly contexted study would show there is no mention from G_d that transitioning is a sin. Furthermore any Christian Biblical Creationist knows that there were only two special creations: Adam and the second Adam, Jesus Christ. The remainder of us are not creations but biological offspring of the First. Thus the whole idea of God creating each of us is falacious. We are formed, as King David wrote, not created.
Unfortunately, theological discussions will not help Leelah. But I do hope at some point education may enlighten some of these misguided Bible thumpers so more of this horror doesn’t repeat itself.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the problem is not that the Bible-thumpers need to be taught better theological reasoning and biblical scholarship, but that they are “reasoning” in the other direction — cherry-picking verses that they can quote to support their already-established prejudices. Which makes me ever more grateful for the fully-accepting congregation that constitutes my primary base of support. The only solution I see is to keep up the long, hard slog to build acceptance and understanding in the larger civil society (you know, that “Agenda” that they’re always accusing us of having).
Thanks to this post I made a list of some trans rights organizations around the world that you can support in Leelah’s memory.
So much of society refuses to accept that a nice white middle-class heteronormative Christian couple could be bad parents. So much of society automatically assumes that if a kid ever complains about their parents, they must just be spoiled or bratty or a “typical teenager” with nothing but petty gripes. We need to remember that not all parents are good parents; that being a minor does not mean you do not deserve any agency or bodily autonomy; that “parents’ rights” don’t mean parents have the moral right to do absolutely anything they want to a child; that for many queer and gender non-conforming and especially trans kids, their parents are their worst bullies. Leelah, you deserved so much better.
Christians and those who style themselves as such should go back to the Bible, for it is in the Bible that we find the origin of gender variation in God’s original design of humankind. My opinion is that Rabbi Arthur Segal has the most accurate analysis. In brief, there is a thousand year old Jewish tradition based on the Hebrew text of Genesis (not our European approximate translations)that Biblical Adam, whom geneticists confirm to be as real as mitochondrial Eve, is identified as the “first human”. It is only after Eve is divided from him that he is identified as the “first man”. Furthermore, Eve is not created from a rib at all. She is formed from ‘Adam’s side’ as in “aspect” not a location. God is held to be comprised equally of five female and five male aspects (Sephirah). When Adam is said to be ‘in the image of God’, he likewise is held to be comprised of equally of female and male aspects. It is only when Eve is divided from him that he is held to be simply male. So to anyone who claims the Bible as the basis of their worldview, we can point to the moment at the human dawn when the template for gender variation was deliberately designed in. We should expect it as part of nature that some people will return to the original design and not hold to the gender binary, which is a revision…not the original. I carry this further by proposing that for Eve to have two X chromosomes from Adam, “he” had to have two himself, in addition to that Y. So as an intersex person, I am only surprised there aren’t more of us. And if the Bible is only mythology, it remains a mythology that supports gender variation (differing from our traditional binary) as the original condition. I would hope they would also discover Lianne Simon whose website includes convincing Bible based argument for acceptance of trangender persons as well as sharing personal testimony of how she was assisted by a few Christian individuals. Leelah’s situation was particularly time critical. The longer she was denied androgen blockers, the harder it would be for her to be convincing as a transgender. Sadly, if we did not read about her suicide, we might be reading ten years from now about her being a victim of transphobe violence, which is so often the fate of persons who aren’t convincing at all times. It only takes one slip. I am fortunate in having opportunities to support the LGBTQIAP interest among Christians who are trying to be inclusive, although the whole intersex thing does leave many baffled. – Tupungato.
Im sitting at a bar by myself, crying, reading this article. With the help of this website i’ve entered a stage in my life where i dont give a fuck about what people think of me, have to say to or about me, i love myself so much and im so happy with myself there isn’t a damn person who could bring me down. And im devistated i cant bottle this new found love. There are so many people i would give it to. It would be on a table marked free at walmart. If only i could meet every sigle person who ever hates their life and make them see what i see. Everyones life is so unbelievably important. No matter what they bring to the table, we as a world need it. Even if we dont always realize it soon enough. Death is the worst way to realize what someone means to you. RIP Leelah, sweet baby girl <3 please come back to this world as a force so strong no one will be able to bring you down.
I wanna be that creepy Sensei that practically kidnaps the main character (in this case youth like Leelah) but takes them away from the bad things in their life and guide them to a path of liking themselves whether they want to or not! To bad this isn’t a book.
I wish I could have saved her. I have been looking for a transgender and think I could have at least helped her understand that all people have the potential to be themselves. If you have support nothing is impossible.
It is a tragedy that no support was there for her. God forgive those who proved your demise!
Mods, request creepy transphobic comment be removed.