A 17-year-old trans girl’s suicide has reignited the conversation surrounding trans rights after she described her parents’ lack of support for her in a suicide note, WCPO-TV reported.
“When I was 14, I learned what transgender meant and cried of happiness,” Leelah Alcorn wrote in a Tumblr post scheduled before she killed herself early Sunday morning. “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.”
The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that Alcorn’s suicide note had amassed more than 82,000 views since it was published that afternoon.
In a separate pre-scheduled post, Alcorn apologizes to several people, including her sister, but tells her parents, “F*ck you. You can’t just control other people like that. That’s messed up.”
Alcorn wrote in her suicide note that, after failing to recognize her identity as a trans girl, her mother took her to Christian therapists who failed to treat her for depression. Instead, Alcorn said, the therapists told her she was being “selfish and wrong.”
The note also states that Alcorn’s parents also refused to give her their consent to begin gender-transition treatments, and later took her out of public school and cut her off from social media, as well as her laptop and phone, for a five-month period. At the time of her death, Alcorn was enrolled as an 11th-grader at the Ohio Virtual Academy, an online school.
Authorities said that Alcorn left her home in Kings Mills, Ohio just before 2:30 a.m. on Sunday and walked onto a nearby interstate, where she was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer. No charges have been filed in connection with her death, and the coroner’s office for Montgomery County is expected to deliver an autopsy for Alcorn within several weeks.
Both Alcorn’s mother, Carla Wood Alcorn, and the Kings Local School District released statements misgendering the teen following her death. Carla Wood Alcorn later deleted her statement from her Facebook page. City council member Chris Seelbach also noted Leelah Alcorn’s death on his own Facebook page.
“While Cincinnati led the country this past year as the first city in the mid-west to include transgender inclusive health benefits and we have included gender identity or expression as a protected class for many years….the truth is….it is still extremely difficult to be a transgender young person in this country,” Seelbach wrote on Monday night. “We have to do better.”
Seelbach also reprinted Alcorn’s suicide note in its entirety, including her own call for greater support of the trans community.
“My death needs to mean something,” she wrote. “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*cked up’ and fix it. Fix society. Please.”
Watch WCPO’s report on Alcorn’s suicide, as aired on Tuesday, below.