At the end of last year, an Ohio transgendered teenager’s death impacted the world. Leelah Alcorn, born Josh Alcorn, committed suicide by walking in front of ongoing traffic at the end of December, 2014. Her tragic suicide caused the LGBTQ community, and their community’s supporters, to begin an online uproar via a variety of social media websites about how our society needs to become more accepting of everyone.
Leelah wrote and posted her suicide note to the popular social media blogging site, Tumblr, right before she committed suicide. In the note, the teen shares stories of many battles she struggled with throughout her teenage life, most involving her family. Leelah had known since she was 4 years old that she was, “a boy trapped in a girl’s body.” She finally realized that there was a term that accurately represented how she has felt her entire life, and cried tears of joy. However, when she decided to share this news with her family, they weren’t as ecstatic as she was. Her parents had told her that she was just going through a phase and began to take her to therapy sessions that were ran by Christian therapists. These so called therapists kept telling Leelah that she was being selfish and not thinking of her family by wanting to be transgendered. Leelah’s parents and therapists led Leelah into a deep depression she saw no way out of.
Finally, at the age of 17, Leelah had had enough. She felt the only way to truly experience peace was to take her own life. Leelah wants her death not to be something to be upset by, but something to make people realize that our society must change and become more accepting of people who are in the LGBTQ community. In her suicide note, Leelah stated that, “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.”