A 17-year-old transgender girl died by apparent suicide on Dec. 28 after being struck by a semi-trailer near her hometown of Kings Mills, OH. Leelah Alcorn, born Josh Alcorn, scheduled a Tumblr note to appear after her death, which has since gone viral and received more than 25,000 notes.
"If you are reading this, it means that I have committed suicide and obviously failed to delete this post from my queue," it begins.
"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."
She goes on to explain how her parents sent her to Christian therapists who disapproved of her identity, how her parents refused to let her start transition treatments when she asked them at age 16 if she could, how she came out as gay at school so people wouldn't be so shocked when she eventually said she was trans, how her parents pulled her out of public school as a result and then eventually took her laptop, phone, and social media accounts away from her. Eventually, her friends turned their backs on her, too.
"After a summer of having almost no friends plus the weight of having to think about college, save money for moving out, keep my grades up, go to church each week and feel like shit because everyone there is against everything I live for, I have decided I've had enough. I'm never going to transition successfully, even when I move out. I'm never going to be happy with the way I look or sound. I'm never going to have enough friends to satisfy me. I'm never going to have enough love to satisfy me. I'm never going to find a man who loves me. I'm never going to be happy. Either I live the rest of my life as a lonely man who wishes he were a woman or I live my life as a lonelier woman who hates herself. There's no winning. There's no way out. I'm sad enough already, I don't need my life to get any worse. People say 'it gets better' but that isn't true in my case. It gets worse. Each day I get worse.
That's the gist of it, that's why I feel like killing myself. Sorry if that's not a good enough reason for you, it's good enough for me. As for my will, I want 100% of the things that I legally own to be sold and the money (plus my money in the bank) to be given to trans civil rights movements and support groups, I don't give a shit which one. 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. Gender needs to be taught about in schools, the earlier the better. My death needs to mean something. My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who commit suicide this year. I want someone to look at that number and say "that's fucked up" and fix it. Fix society. Please.
Her mother, Carla Wood Alcorn, wrote a Facebook post after Leelah's death, which has since been taken down or made private. It read, "My sweet 17 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. Thank you for the messages and kindness and concern you have sent our way. Please continue to keep us in your prayers."
On Twitter, the hashtags #LeelahAlcorn and #JusticeForLeelahAlcorn started trending with people showing love and support for Leelah.
Never forget Leelah Alcorn. Burn her name and story into your mind. Her story is important. Learn from her tragedy. #JusticeForLeelahAlcorn— amy (@G4YMY) December 30, 2014
— sian (@grandetruths) December 30, 2014