Leelah Alcorn – Enough Already

This is a story that I have been following since it broke a few days ago, but it was not something that I intended to write about. But given how the masses of social media are handling the death, I find myself wanting to comment.

I will first start with Leeah’s suicide note.

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.

My mom started taking me to a therapist, but would only take me to christian therapists, (who were all very biased) so I never actually got the therapy I needed to cure me of my depression. I only got more Christians telling me that I was selfish and wrong and that I should look to God for help.

When I was 16 I realized that my parents would never come around, and that I would have to wait until I was 18 to start any sort of transitioning treatment, which absolutely broke my heart. The longer you wait, the harder it is to transition. I felt hopeless, that I was just going to look like a man in drag for the rest of my life. On my 16th birthday, when I didn’t receive consent from my parents to start transitioning, I cried myself to sleep.

I formed a sort of a ‘f*** you’ attitude towards my parents and came out as gay at school, thinking that maybe if I eased into coming out as trans it would be less of a shock. Although the reaction from my friends was positive, my parents were pissed. They felt like I was attacking their image, and that I was an embarrassment to them. They wanted me to be their perfect little straight christian boy, and that’s obviously not what I wanted.

So they took me out of public school, took away my laptop and phone, and forbid me of getting on any sort of social media, completely isolating me from my friends. This was probably the part of my life when I was the most depressed, and I’m surprised I didn’t kill myself. I was completely alone for 5 months. No friends, no support, no love. Just my parent’s disappointment and the cruelty of loneliness.

At the end of the school year, my parents finally came around and gave me my phone and let me back on social media. I was excited, I finally had my friends back. They were extremely excited to see me and talk to me, but only at first. Eventually they realized they didn’t actually give a s**t about me, and I felt even lonelier than I did before. The only friends I thought I had only liked me because they saw me five times a week.

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 s**t 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 s**t 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 f***ed up’ and fix it. Fix society. Please.

Goodbye,

(Leelah) Josh Alcorn 

As you can see, its a very unfortunate situation. I do not for a minute question that Leeah had lived a tortured existence for much of her life and that her parent’s religiously based ignorance, bigotry and shame had not helped things. Their continued reference to their child as “Josh”   (as opposed to her preferred Leeah) as well as their demand that the suicide note be removed from the tumblr page says quite a lot.

But I do not like how the masses of the internet seem to be treating Leeah as if she is a saint, a selfless martyr to the transgender community. Its a bothersome distinction, being that it falls apart when you look even just a LITTLE BIT between the lines.

There is no doubt that the situation drove Leeah into a deep depression. And it is unfortunate that she could not see any hope in her future.  This is not something that is hard to understand. Anyone who has ever been though a prolonged negative situation in life, knows just how dark the tunnel can be.

But at the same time, one can not help but to note that buried in between the lines, are hints of self absorption. Hints of an action that was committed for less then selfless reasons.

One that sticks out right off the bat is this line from the note:

At the end of the school year, my parents finally came around and gave me my phone and let me back on social media. I was excited, I finally had my friends back. They were extremely excited to see me and talk to me, but only at first. Eventually they realized they didn’t actually give a s**t about me, and I felt even lonelier than I did before. The only friends I thought I had only liked me because they saw me five times a week.

This is just speculation, but this strikes me as the upset thought processes of one who does not feel valuable unless all the people around them put them at the top of the social hierarchy. I mention this, because I know of a person that views life in such a way. Though rather then feeding into depression, friends not paying attention to them just brings out hostility.
When I do not talk to friends for any length of time, I do not automatically assume that they don’t give a shit about me. I don’t think about it, because I know that I will see them or talk to them at some point later on.

I am tempted to cite the usage of self-oriented language such as a lot of  “I am” to also back this assertion, but this is very much debatable. Many people use that language when it comes to texts surrounding themselves (diaries and such), so its not a good indicator of a selfish mindset.

One big indicator however, was the method of suicide she choose. Even though there are many methodologies of which  would cause very little to no harm towards any other person but the one making the choice, she didn’t choose any of those. She instead choose to jump in front of a tractor-trailer.

 Sure, her miseries are over. But right off the bat, you have at least  one person that will be affected for a very long time (if not the rest of their life). The driver of the truck she choose as a tool to end her life.
Then there is the what if scenario that thankfully did not come into fruition. The scenario that would have happened had the truck driver lost control after hitting Leeah and then potentially caused the injury (or death!) of any number of others who happened to be in the path of the aftermath.

Do not get me wrong, I feel for Leeah’s plight. Its not a life that I would want to subject even my own worst enemy. But at the same time, I can not ignore the seemingly self absorbed nature of the person, Of Leeah. Someone who takes the lives of others around them into consideration in their actions does not go out and potentially CAUSE a catastrophe potentially much worse then their own demise.

Mourn Leeah if you wish. Decry the problems that drove her to her early demise, and mourn the fact that she could not see any other way out of the situation. But please stop telling me and the world that we have to treat her as a selfless martyr to the transgender community. Your not helping anything.

The focus on Leeah is not helping anyone. Many will read this and get ticked off that I DARED to talk of Leeah in this light. They will talk of her struggles, and of how I am an asshole for ignoring that. Even though if they had read my words more carefully, they would see that I indeed did take that into consideration.

But what is more important, is the misdirection of energy.

As sad and unfortunate as Leeah’s story is, it is over. What could have been, will never be. The book is closed forever.
But that is not the case, for any number of others who happen to find themselves in the same disenfranchised and hopeless position. If this story bothers you as much as you say it does, then focus on making sure that this never happens again.

Do not make this another short lived bandwagon in the realm of social media.

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2 Responses to Leelah Alcorn – Enough Already

  1. She wasn’t a saint no, however I hope her death makes some parents consider how they treat their children if they feel the same as she did. As to this – “This is just speculation, but this strikes me as the upset thought processes of one who does not feel valuable unless all the people around them put them at the top of the social hierarchy” – she just sounds like every other teenage kid I’ve met, and the one I was. They talk bollocks half the time, think everybody hates them, are irrational and moody and generally play merry hell. I think Leeah was all that plus was battered into the ground by a vast aching empty pit of support.

    – sonmi upon the Cloud

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