Leelah Alcorn, the transgender teen (17 years old) from Ohio, left a suicide note cued on tumbler, and then walked into traffic, where she was hit by a tractor-trailer just after Christmas.
In her note, she criticises her parents, who would not accept her as transgender, and would not let her transition on her 16th birthday. She wanted her death to mean something, that parents would understand their transgender children, and that transgender people would be accepted in society.
There was huge reaction and social media backlash against her parents, who still used male pronouns and nouns to speak about Leelah after her death.
CNN quote Leelah’s mother, Carla, who told them that when Leelah said she wanted to live as a girl, they wouldn’t stand for it:
“We don’t support that, religiously,” Alcorn’s mother told CNN on Wednesday, her voice breaking. “But we told him that we loved him unconditionally. We loved him no matter what. I loved my son. People need to know that I loved him. He was a good kid, a good boy.”
Carla also told CNN that Leelah was depressed, and medical professionals had given her medication, after which she stopped talking about being transgender. However, in Leelah’s suicide note, she explains that as being the stage where she saw that talking to her parents was hopeless, and had also had her mobile phone taken from her, effectively cutting her off from her friends and social media.
Her mother also referred to Leelah asking for transition surgery, but says she told Leelah no, as they didn’t have the money for it.
Carla Alcorn also stated that the “hateful messages” were making them out to be horrible people, and that her other children were really sad that they had lost a sibling.
She explained that there had not been a service yet as people were threatening to protest.
Even to the end of speaking to CNN, Carla was still using male pronouns and nouns for Leelah:
“He was an amazing musician and artist, he was an amazing boy”.
Shane Morgan, the executive director of TransOhio, told CNN that Leelah’s death brought back memories of what he went through 15 years ago, as he struggled with being transgender.
He said that if he could have talked to Leelah, he “would have said that he understood how tough it is and how awful it feels. He would have told her that when she got a little bit older, she would be freer to adopt another kind of family — one of friends who would accept and cherish her”.