From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brynn-tannehill/not-one-more_b_6400854.html
When Leelah Alcorn died between Dayton and Cincinnati, she left behind a note on Tumblr that was a wake-up call to the world regarding what it means to be a transgender youth in a conservative Christian family.
That reality is every bit as ugly as you would imagine. When I first saw this incident and the message she left behind, I desperately hoped it was a hoax. It was all too perfectly awful to be true. This happened only a few miles from where I live, and via my work with PFLAG Dayton, I know just how bad things are for transgender youth in the Dayton area.
Tragically, it was true. It is also the reality for most transgender youth in homes where their identities are denied.
Her family rejected her gender identity and made it clear that being loved and accepted was conditional. They put her in Christian “reparative therapy.” They systematically cut her off from her social-support networks. They denied her the medical care she begged for. In fact, they did everything their Christian leaders command parents of transgender children to do.
Statistically, though, her parents did just about everything possible to maximize the risk of self-harm.
When other fundamentalist Christians deny medically necessary care to their children and they die as a result, they go to prison. Missouri law defines child neglect as “the failure to provide, by those responsible for the care, custody, and control of a child under the age of eighteen years, the care reasonable and necessary to maintain the physical and mental health of the child” and is also punishable with years in prison, even if the child doesn’t perish. But somehow, despite everything, the state will not recognize what happened to Leelah as neglect.
When the child is transgender, the parents are Christian, and the dangers of their rejection and medical neglect are well known, that medical neglect is still 100-percent legal, because we don’t want to “interfere with their religion.” Because “common sense” says medical care for transgender people isn’t necessary. Because growing up to be transgender is a “bad outcome.” Because transgender people who transition go to hell for defying the will of God. Because parents of transgender children are told over and over again by religious authorities that they risk going to hell too if they recognize their child’s gender identity.
And here’s where I get really angry. Here’s where I speak truth to power, because I no longer care if I’m seen as an angry transgender woman. We have three beautiful children, and the thought of one of them dying the way Leelah did in so much pain and despair makes me want to vomit and cry all at once.
Continue reading at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brynn-tannehill/not-one-more_b_6400854.html
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