Leelah Alcorn, an Ohio 11th grader struggling with her identity, took her own life. Last Sunday, at 2:30 in the morning, Alcorn walked four miles from her home to Interstate-71 and threw herself into an oncoming tractor-trailer. Alcorn left a note, pleading that others not be treated as she was.
Writes USA Today on Dec. 30: “In life, Leelah Alcorn felt alone. Born male, she feared she would never be the woman she felt like inside. In death, the transgender 17-year-old – born Josh Alcorn – wanted to make sure others never felt the way she did.”
Alcorn made a plea, posted to social media, which would mark her final words: “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 a post on Tumblr, scheduled for the day she died. She said her parents insist she be a “perfect little straight Christian boy.”
My death needs to mean something…Fix society. Please. – Leelah Alcorn
Ohio Kings Local School District, where Alcorn was enrolled as an online student, issued a statement, writing: “Joshua Alcorn was a sweet, talented, tender-hearted 17-year-old.”
Leelah’s suicide note, in which she wrote “f**k you” to her parents, was set to auto-post if she carried out her intent to kill herself. “If you are reading this, it means that I have committed suicide and obviously failed to delete this post from my queue,” her note began.
The teen from King’s Mill Ohio explains in her note something that many transgender youths express – they feel like a girl trapped inside of the opposite body. At the age of 14, Leelah found out what “transgender” meant, and found solace for her feelings.
“After 10 years of confusion I finally understood who I was,” she wrote. “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.” Leelah said her parents’ lack of support pushed her into a deep and continuous depression.
Adds ABC News: “The note reportedly written by Alcorn detailed her experience coming out as gay and wrote that her peers and school were receptive, but that her parents were not. She said she was taken to Christian therapists, who did not help her overcome her depression.”
Leelah asked that her assets be donated to an LGBT community support group.
Alcorn’s mother, after she died, wrote on Facebook: “My sweet 16 year old son, Joshua Ryan Alcorn went home to heaven this morning. He was out for an early morning walk and was hit by a truck.” She has received criticisms for making the death appear to be accidental, and for referring to Leelah as a male.
“I don’t really feel the need to apologize to anyone else,” Leelah wrote, after expressing regret to her friends, but not her parents. “Odds are you didn’t give a sh*t about me and if you do, you did something that made me feel like sh*t and you don’t deserve an apology.”