Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Posts Tagged ‘transgendered youth

Leelah Alcorn’s Parents Take Down Her Suicide Note, and Internet Erupts

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Folks, a few days ago I wrote about Leelah Alcorn, a transgender youth who committed suicide at the tender age of 17. Leelah left behind a note explaining why she felt she had nothing whatsoever to look forward to, and my previous blog discussed just how heartbreaking I found that to be.

Well, since that time, Leelah’s parents have managed to get her final note taken down. They were her kin, and they were adult, so they had that right.

But in doing that, I believe they’ve shown how little understanding they had regarding their own daughter. Leelah knew she was transgender, and apparently had been asking questions for a long time — including at Reddit’s Ask Transgender Forum. Her parents have insisted that they didn’t know Leelah called herself Leelah and that they couldn’t “support” their child due to their religion.

Here’s a bit from the Daily Mail article on the subject:

…earlier this week Leelah’s parents said in an interview they did not ‘support’ her when she revealed that she was transgender – but insisted they loved their child unconditionally.

Carla Alcorn, Leelah’s mother, also refused to acknowledge her daughter’s sex, using male pronouns and referring to her as ‘him,’ ‘he’ and ‘son’ throughout the interview.

Speaking with CNN on Wednesday, Carla said of her transgender daughter; ‘We don’t support that, religiously.’

After reading this, I don’t know whether to tear my hair out or start throwing things.

Like being transgender is a choice? Like Leelah wanted to be a female trapped inside a male body? Why can’t Leelah’s parents understand this at all?

Look. It’s hard enough to make peace with our bodies when you’re a teen and everything is new and strange. It has to be that much worse if you’re transgender.

To have a family that has continued to insist that this poor young woman be called “Joshua” shows right there that Leelah was not understood. At all. And it makes my heart break for her, again, to know that even now her parents have apparently learned nothing whatsoever.

The Internet has erupted in outrage over Leelah’s parents taking down Leelah’s suicide note. And the reason, I believe, is simple: taking down Leelah’s final words is a way to silence her one, final time. And that’s just wrong — so wrong, I don’t have the words for it.

I wish Leelah were still alive.

I wish she’d have done anything other than kill herself.

That said, I believe Leelah’s final words should be honored. And I’m not the only one, as various places have reposted Leelah’s final missive in its entirety, including here (at the end of the previously-referenced Daily Mail story).

So please, read her note. Honor her wishes. And do what you can to help LGBTQ youth.

That’s the only memorial that’s truly worthy of Leelah Alcorn.