Not One More

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brynn-tannehill/not-one-more_b_6400854.html

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How Do We Find Justice for Transgender Teen Leelah Alcorn?

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deserae-l-stage/how-do-we-find-justice-fo_b_6398204.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices


12/31/2014

Leelah Alcorn, a 17 year-old transgender teen from Kings Mills, OH, died by suicide early Sunday morning. But for local media in Ohio, Leelah doesn’t exist at all. Joshua Alcorn, on the other hand, died in the roadway on I-71 in Warren County, OH, after being struck by a tractor trailer. No cause of death, no recognition of Leelah’s true identity — just the facts, ma’am.

Leelah wanted her voice to be heard. She left a suicide note, pre-scheduled to publish to her Tumblr account in the hours after her death. It was preceded by a series of three gory images that should have served as a warning sign for the dire crisis she was in. In the note, she discussed experiencing gender dysphoria from the age of 4, but having no language for it and doing “traditionally ‘boyish’ things to try to fit in.”

She wrote of learning about gender identity, of taking her newfound discovery to her mother, and of being rejected. She was sent to Christian counselors. She rebelled by coming out as gay, thinking it might soften the blow of her transition. She was taken out of school and isolated from her friends.

She felt crushed by the rejection of her family, forced into a box she couldn’t and didn’t want to fit into. She saw no future in which she could be who she needed to be. She felt hopeless. She saw dying as her only option.

Leelah’s death is tragic, but it’s not unique.

Nearly 40,000 Americans die by suicide each year. It’s difficult to break this number down for the LGBTQ population because the national data does not exist. But we do know this: according to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, of 6,456 trans and gender non-confirming individuals surveyed, 41 percent reported a past suicide attempt — a figure much higher than the 10-20 percent of adults who identified as lesbian, gay, or bisexual and also reported a past attempt. Per the survey, 57 percent of respondents who experienced familial rejection after coming out had attempted suicide.

Diego Sanchez, policy director of PFLAG National, told The Los Angeles Times, “This report punctuates what PFLAG families know is fundamental — that there is life-saving merit, demonstrable value, and paramount need for family acceptance.”

This is where most of Leelah’s grievances seemed to lie, and she left us with a call to action:

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…

My death needs to mean something. My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who [die by] suicide this year.

I want someone to look at that number and say, “That’s fucked up,” and fix it.

Social media users are posting thoughts and resources using #justiceforleelahalcorn, but where is the justice and what kind of justice are we hoping for? We lost the life of a young person who just wanted to be herself and be accepted for that. She wanted her body to match her heart and her mind. She wanted to be loved, unconditionally and without fail.

The only justice we can each ensure is in compassion: for Leelah; for her family; for those who struggle or have struggled with their gender identity; for those who never have and don’t know how to understand; and for the many, many others who have fought to live in a world fraught with discrimination and who just couldn’t do it anymore.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deserae-l-stage/how-do-we-find-justice-fo_b_6398204.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices

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There But For Fortune

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Leelah 17 Suicide Note

From Lazer Princess: http://lazerprincess.tumblr.com/post/106447705738/suicide-note

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.

Goodbye,

Leelah Alcorn

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