On Dec. 28, transgender teen Leelah Alcorn (born Joshua Alcorn) committed suicide. When she was 14 she came out to her parents. Her parents were not open-minded to the idea of their son wanting to be a girl. Sixteen-year-old Leelah asked her parents for permission to undergo transition treatment. They refused the surgery and started to send her to Christian conversion therapy to convince her to accept being a boy. Leelah’s parents took her out of school and did not let her use social media anymore. Leelah started to feel isolated and depressed. Her loneliness got to an unbearable point, she felt hopeless and that she would never be happy on earth, so she chose to end her life. Her parents were bullies who told her, “it’s just a phase, she would never be a girl”. This made her feel helpless. No matter how many times she tried to explain her feelings to her parents, they simply insisted “God doesn’t make mistakes”.
Despite her parents’ opinions and lack of support, Leelah reached out to try and help other people in situations similar to hers. She had a friend post a suicide note to tumblr, which explained her situation, and asked for people to support transgender people around the world saying: “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.”
Leelah’s story has sparked an international outcry against the cruelty of her parents and the unfairness of what she had to go through. She suffered from depression because of parents who not only didn’t support her, but also wouldn’t bring her to see a proper therapist (her mom took her to Christian therapists who made it worse by telling her she was “selfish and wrong and that I should look to God for help.” In her suicide note, Leelah expressed her desire to help other transgender people going through discrimination and the resulting depression by donating all her things and money to the transgender rights movement saying: “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.” Leelah’s story attracted international attention, and really raised awareness about what transgender people often have to go through.
What Leelah went through, the discrimination and bullying from her parents is no way to treat a person. However, the family has since received many angry letters and emails, and even some threats. I think voicing your opinions is extremely necessary and wonderful, and should be encouraged, especially when trying to make the world a better, safer place, but even though Leelah’s parents were incredibly unfair and horrible to her, they should not be receiving threats. It cannot be easy to lose a child, no matter how unfair you were to that child while they were alive. Receiving threats is also unfair. No matter how unfairly someone treats someone else, supporters of the oppressed should not be sending threats of violence to the oppressors. Especially when they’ve just lost a child, which really is punishment enough.
Leelah faced inhuman discrimination from her own parents, which is something that, especially in this day and age should never ever happen.
My name is Marielle but everyone calls me Lola.
I’m 12 years old (almost 13).
Toronto born and raised.
I like to cook and clean — seriously!
I love watching classic films and foreign movies.
More by Lola:
- Celeste & Lola look for the Best Ice Cream in T.O.
- Transgender Teen Leelah Alcorn’s Story Details a Life of Rejection
- Lola checks out the intersection of reality and social media
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