Leelah Alcorn’s Suicide Note in Full:
‘My Death Needs to Mean Something’
By Leelah Alcorn
After committing suicide and sparking a nationwide debate, 17-year-old Ohio transgender teen Leelah (Josh) Alcorn’s suicide note was taken down from her Tumblr account. Others copies of her final words were scrubbed from social media as well.
“My death needs to mean something,” Leelah wrote as she pled for change.
We agree. We are re-posting her final words for the sake of posterity—and for others to have an understanding of the issue.
“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 “f*** 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 s**t 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 s**t 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 s**t 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 f***ed up” and fix it. Fix society. Please.”
(Leelah) Josh Alcorn
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The back story:
When transgender teen Leelah Alcorn committed suicide by walking into traffic on Sunday, her death – and suicide note – sparked a nationwide debate about how families should react when a child comes out as transgender.
“I immediately told my mom,” Leelah wrote about coming out in an emotional suicide note posted on her Tumblr account. ”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.”
When the note and Leelah’s other comments went public, the reaction was swift – and heated. Leelah’s name began trending on Twitter, with some activists scorning the Alcorns.
But Alcorn’s mother, Carla, insists that she only wanted what was best for her child.
During an interview with CNN on Wednesday, she explained her point of view. “We don’t support that, religiously,” Carla Alcorn said. ”But we told him that we loved him unconditionally. We loved him no matter what. He was an amazing musician and artist,” she said. “He was an amazing boy. I loved my son. People need to know that I loved him. He was a good kid, a good boy.”
She said her child was depressed and on medication and that, “he just quit talking about [being transgender.]”
The next day, the teen’s father, Doug, wrote an email to local news station WCPO. “We love our son, Joshua, very much and are devastated by his death.”
Many have criticized the Alcorns for referring to Leelah by her given name, Joshua, and for using male pronouns when discussing their child.
“It’s so damaging to do that,” says Johanna Olson, Medical Director for the Center of Trans Youth Health and Development at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. ”It’s so tragic. Just the process of listening and being open to your child will save your life. I ask parents if they’d rather have an alive daughter or a dead son. It’s tragic to hear of such a lack of parental support.”
“Did Leelah’s parents love her? Yes, I’m sure they did,” says Olson. ”Did they support her? No, they didn’t. And that’s a tragedy.”
Beyond the debate, the Alcorns, who have other children, say that they are still reeling over their child’s suicide – but don’t wish to become part of a national controversy.
“We have no desire to enter a political storm or debate with people who did not know him,” Doug Alcorn wrote in his note to WCPO. ”We wish to grieve in private.”
To note, a 2011 study by the National Center for Transgender Equality found that 41% of 6,450 responding transgender and gender nonconforming people have attempted suicide.
~Via Yahoo News, CatholicTrans, ABC-9, and YouTube