America mourns transgender girl’s death

America mourns transgender girl’s death

Rachel Laventure, Staff Writer

On December 28, 2014, Leelah Alcorn, a transgender male to female,  committed suicide by stepping into open traffic.

Several hours later, her suicide note was posted on her social media Tumblr, addressing her reasoning behind the act.

Born as Joshua Ryan Alcorn, Alcorn was raised in a conservative Christian household. Her parents Carla and Doug Alcorn both refused to accept her gender identity when she came out as transgender to them, instead sending her to religious conversion therapy.

At the age of 16, Alcorn requested for transitional treatment, but was immediately denied by her parents.

As a way to prove to them that the community was accepting of LGBT people, Alcorn  came out to her school, who thought she was male, as gay, in order to test the waters before admitting she was transgender.

Though she was met with generally positive reception, her furious parents withdrew her from public school and enrolled her in online courses. She was cut off from social media and denied communication with her friends for five months.

Eventually, her parents allowed her the ability to use her cell phone, but by this point, her relationships with her peers were too strained to return to their original level.

Alcorn became increasingly more depressed, and was prescribed Prozac and other medication in order to treat her depression.

In her suicide note, she credited her mental health to being denied transitional treatment. Feeling more and more isolated from everyone, Alcorn ultimately made the decision to take her own life.

A few days after Christmas, Alcorn’s body was found a few miles from her home, having been struck by an oncoming truck.

Her suicide note was automatically posted to her blog later that day, explaining her choice to end her life. Alcorn also shed light on the many issues and difficulties transgender youth face in today’s society. She pleaded with parents to accept their children as who they are, transgender or otherwise, and to not abuse them as her parents had.

This letter was met with outrage from many online communities who blamed Alcorn’s parents for her death. Alcorn’s body was reportedly cremated in a private ceremony. Her mother, Carla Alcorn, refused to address Alcorn by her chosen name, and instead referred to her solely as Joshua.

This loss sheds a light onto the many struggles that transgendered youth suffer through. A staggering 41 percent of transgender people in the United States have attempted to commit suicide.

Alcorn is one of millions of neglected transgender people who are denied transitional therapy and are not accepted by the people closest to them. Alcorn’s death, in many ways, forced many people to become aware of these issues and to take a stand for such injustices.