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Transgender teen’s suicide note inspires new calls to help others

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A transgender Ohio teen walked in front of an oncoming truck and was crushed to death on Sunday morning, leaving behind a suicide note that has resonated around the world and led to calls for a federal law to protect other transgender adolescents.

Leelah Alcorn, born with the name Joshua, was 17 years old and said she had been forced to undergo conversion therapy, which seeks to change sexual orientation through counseling. The practice has been banned in two states on grounds it is medically unfounded and puts children in danger.

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“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,” Alcorn wrote in the note that was posted on Tumblr.

Alcorn, from Kings Mills, near Cincinnati, said that since the age of 4, she felt like a girl trapped in a boy’s body and cried with happiness when she found out at 14 what transgender meant.

“After 10 years of confusion I finally understood who I was,” Alcorn wrote, telling of her battle with her deeply religious Christian parents as she struggled to find her identity.

Alcorn’s parents were not immediately available for comment.

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Since Alcorn’s death, groups supporting transgenders have called for a national “Leelah’s Law” to end conversion therapy, calling it “psychological torture.” Nearly 80,000 people have signed a petition on Change.org supporting the proposal.

The American Psychological Association has dismissed the idea that sexual orientation is a mental disorder and said mental health professionals should avoid telling clients they can change their sexual orientation through therapy or other treatments.

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Supporters of the practice say it is an effective way to counsel troubled youths.

Transgender adults took to Twitter after Alcorn’s death, offering encouragement to transgender teens with the hashtag #RealLiveTransAdult.

“I didn’t think I’d live to be 30 … Don’t give up,” one person wrote.

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Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender teenagers are about twice as likely to have attempted suicide than their heterosexual peers, said a paper on the website for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Her story is not unique,” said Allison Woolbert, executive director of the Transgender Human Rights Institute.

“People see a 17-year-old who has struggled for several years, desperately trying to be herself. They are seeing a real-life instance of what this is like for a teen,” Woolbert said.

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(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Additional reporting by Lisa Maria Garza in Dallas and Laila Kearney in New York; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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2020 Election

Heather Heyer’s mom says things have gotten worse since Charlottesville — but she has a solution

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CNN's Ana Cabrera on Saturday interviewed Susan Bro, the mother of Heather Heyer. Her daughter was murdered by a white nationalist terrorist during the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017.

"When you watch what’s happening in Portland, thankfully everything right now is peaceful, but does it sort of give you that knee-jerk reaction where your hackles kind of go up, just given everything your family has been through?" Cabrera asked.

"My hackles don’t really go down anymore," Bro replied. "I am constantly tracking these things around the country as they happen. Yeah, I think after two years ago, mine will never completely go down again."

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CNN

Trump-loving “hate group” leader struggles to defend chauvinism during CNN interview on Portland chaos

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Portland, Oregon on Saturday was the scene of another far-right mobilization by groups such as the Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer.

CNN's Sara Sidner interviewed Enrique Tarrio, who succeeded Gavin McInnes as the chairman of the Proud Boys. The group is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Tarrio had traveled from Miami to take part in the far-right rally in Portland and appeared to be wearing body armor.

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‘Go back to Harlem!’: Florida woman has n-word laced meltdown after bumping black woman’s shopping cart

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On Saturday, the Atlanta Black Star reported an incident in Florida, in which a white woman screamed racial slurs at a black woman at a Publix supermarket in Miami after their shopping carts jostled each other.

After the woman allegedly banged into Nicki Johnson's cart, she refused to apologize, saying, "I didn't hit you with my cart, and f**k you,  you f**king n****r."

Johnson whipped out her cell phone camera, and began recording the incident, saying "You, why don't you call me a n****r again?"

"You thinking I'm sorry?" snapped the woman. "Let me tell you something, I don't have to call you anything. Get away from me, I will call security and there are surveillance videos. Get away from me!"

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