When parents don’t accept their kids, tragedy can follow

When parents dont accept their kids, tragedy can follow

17-year-old Leelah Alcorn (born Joshua Ryan Alcorn) committed suicide in the early morning hours of December 28, 2014, by walking into oncoming traffic, resulting in her being struck by a semi truck.

However, the difference between this story and most other recountings of suicide is the fact that Leelah wasn’t an “ordinary” teenager by today’s standards. She was a transgender girl living in an ignorant society that couldn’t accept her.

Being raised by Christian parents, Alcorn was told all her life that she was “wrong” and, when denied transition procedures, was told that she was being “selfish” and that “God doesn’t make mistakes.”

As a Christian, I believe that God makes us how He wants us and that He accepts all of us, gender and sexuality aside. In my opinion, her parents had no right to make her feel worthless and should not have neglected her.

Leelah’s mother, Carla, said that she “loved her son unconditionally but didn’t support his decision for religious reasons.” Mrs. Alcorn still continues to use male pronouns when talking about her child.

I don’t think it matters what religion someone is or isn’t. Even if they don’t agree with their child’s beliefs, a parent should love and support their child no matter what. Her parents didn’t have to like the fact that their born son felt that (s)he was a girl trapped inside a boy’s body, but they didn’t have to make her feel like an outcast about it.

Leelah’s death has sparked national and international attention through social media outlets such as Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, and the like. Petitions on Change.org to have “Leelah’s Law” enacted to ban trangender conversion therapy and to have the name “Leelah” put on her headstone instead of her birth name, Joshua Ryan, have gained major attention and a large number of supporters. Here is the petition to have the name on her headstone changed and here is the petition to have Leelah’s Law enacted.

Among the many supporters, former My Chemical Romance guitarist Ray Toro has weighed in on the matter, dedicating his latest solo single “For the Lost and Brave” to Leelah. Toro said that he had completed the track over a year ago, but “always found a reason to hold it back, but lately there seems to be so much hate and misunderstanding in this world.”

As stated in a blog post, Ray went on to say, “As I’m sure many of you felt after reading the news of young Leelah taking her own life, my heart sank. I felt sick. Yet another young life gone because of not being heard, not being understood, and not being unconditionally loved for who they truly were. After hearing her story, and reading her final Tumblr post, I finally felt it was time to share this song.”

Toro began a video of the song on YouTube with a picture of Leelah and the statement that is a reference to the tragic last blog post, “her death needs to mean something.”

Here is Leelah Alcorn’s final Tumblr post, her suicide note that puts the entire scene into perspective:

    If you are reading this, it means that I have committed suicide and obviously failed to delete this post from my queue.

    Please don’t be sad, it’s for the better. The life I would’ve lived isn’t worth living in… because I’m transgender. I could go into detail explaining why I feel that way, but this note is probably going to be lengthy enough as it is. To put it simply, I feel like a girl trapped in a boy’s body, and I’ve felt that way ever since I was 4. I never knew there was a word for that feeling, nor was it possible for a boy to become a girl, so I never told anyone and I just continued to do traditionally ‘boyish’ things to try to fit in.

    Since the release of the letter, numerous articles, and a major outpouring of support for both Leelah and her parents (though the vast majority is on Leelah’s side), Mr. and Mrs. Alcorn demanded that Tumblr remove Leelah’s blog, but the Alcorns did not comment much further as to why the demands were made. I believe that they were trying to protect their image by attempting to rid the Internet of the note that outlined their actions in great detail, to little avail.

In fact, not much has come from Leelah’s parents throughout this whole ordeal. I do not believe that they should be supported considering the fact that they were the main cause in their daughter’s suicide, but should not be receiving the many death threats that have gone their way.

Now, I don’t think they’re particularly good people, but threatening them isn’t going to accomplish anything. Even if they continue to be ignorant to the fact that they pretty much drove their own daughter to killing herself, that’s their problem. Nothing will change the fact that they lost their child that they claimed to love.

In short, this should not be an issue anymore. LGBT people should be accepted as exactly that: people. They are humans just like the rest of us and should not be discriminated against, especially not by their families.

Leelah Alcorn should still be alive. Her parents should have accepted her, supported her, and allowed her to go through the transition process. It’s 2015. This is the time to start being more tolerant of people who have differentiating opinions.

Rest in Power, Leelah.