Leelah Alcorn, Taken Too Soon

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.”


Article on the Leelah Alcorn story.


3 thoughts on “Leelah Alcorn, Taken Too Soon

  1. This happens way too much in our nation that is looked upon as a power in the world. We all see ourselves in a light that is cast by other people. It makes us human, separating us from animals. The “looking glass self” we all compare to what we are, highlighting our weakest feelings and making us anxious. Our sense of self is highly influenced by the lack of community, in the case of Leelah’s suicide, her weakest feelings were influenced by the lack of community. The feeling of not being understood is an issue that affects everyone. Especially in the sense of children with parents having so much influence on their children that even in a time when we preach diversity and acceptance. These opinions that we can still see in every case of suicide that is because the misunderstood and lonely LGBT teenagers that seem to have the worst time of any teenagers in high school. As a high school student in Southwest VA, it was evident how some of the conservative views that the community holds true rubbed off on the children of the 40 and 50 year olds that would never accept the LGBT community in our area. It was sickening to see any teenager picked on for anything much less picked on for your beliefs. Nothing should ever come down to an innocent life being lost, the next generation is solving the problem of equality under the law.

  2. This was definitely a hard read for me. It is very upsetting to me that Leelah’s parents treated her the way they did. I understand that it can be hard for a parent to accept that their child is different in that way, but I feel like any parent should accept their child for who they are, and love them unconditionally. It makes me sad knowing that such a young person took his own life, especially because he still could’ve made a difference in society if he was alive. Yes, his death caused a great uproar, and sparked some new arguments in the LGBTQ community, but he is no longer living. Society has drastically changed in the passed few years, and still is, so it does upset me that he just sort of gave up. I understand that he must have been in a lot of pain, I can’t imagine how much, but he could do more alive, rather than dead. In just less than one year, 16 states went from banning same-sex marriage, to allowing it from December 2013, to December 2014. In just one year, more than half of our country decided that same-sex marriage shouldn’t be illegal anymore. That sort of progress was not made overnight, but happened because of the people who fought for it. Again, I didn’t live Leelah’s life, I can’t imagine how painful it was for her to not be accepted by her family, but I just wish she would’ve tried to stick around longer so she could’ve fought for society to change, and see it’s progress.

  3. This is a very tragic tale of a transgendered teen suicide. In the News report they stated that people “need a sense of community” in order to feel accepted. I believe this to be completely accurate because without the sense of community and individuals to support you, there is no way to believe you ARE normal and that you shouldn’t be alive because something is “wrong with you.” Growing up in a catholic family and going to private school it really did show me that a person can grow up without being taught about gender until an older age. In Leelah’s suicide note she wrote that she believed people should be taught about transgendered people from a very early age in order to make it an accepted, ordinary thing. It is so very disheartening to think that even her parents were against everything she stood for, and that her last words were posted on a social media site but still no one was fast enough to stop her.

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