Childrearing

Transgender Teen’s Heartbreaking Suicide Note Should Be Required Reading For All Parents

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leelah alcorn tumblr selfieAbout half of transgender young people will attempt suicide by the time they turn 20. Half. That’s where they turn when faced with the prospect of life in a society that doesn’t accept them, of being the butt of jokes in movies and stand-up routines (transphobia! Wow, that’s some ground-breaking material) – and of course, of being mistreated and isolated by the family who should have loved and supported them. If you’re not prepared to have a child who is transgender, gay, bisexual, or otherwise queer, maybe parenting is not for you.

Before dawn on Sunday, 17-year-old Leelah Alcorn of Ohio was struck and killed by a truck while walking on a major highway a few miles from her house. Alcorn, who was assigned male at birth, left behind a heartbreaking suicide note on her Tumblr, explaining that she could no longer stand living in a world where her parents were allowed to prevent her from transitioning, to isolate her from her friends and pull her out of public school, to send her to so-called ‘therapists’ who told her that she “was selfish and wrong and that [she] should look to God for help.” The note starts,

“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.

When I was 14, I learned what transgender meant and cried of happiness. 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. That won’t do anything but make them hate them self. That’s exactly what it did to me…”

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