Transgender Teenager’s Suicide Brought to Forefront

By Simona Riccardi

Leelah Alcorn, a transgender teenage girl, was found dead on December 28th after being hit by a tractor trailer in a suburb outside of Cincinnati. The death of the 17-year-old has sparked national discussion of transgender rights in America.

A note that was found later on her Tumblr blog stated that her death was in fact a suicide. In this note, Alcorn confesses that her parents were unaccepting of her gender identity and refused to accept their child as a girl.

Alcorn wrote, “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.”

According to ABC News, Leelah’s friends, as well as her pastor, have all corroborated this. Her letter and her blog have since been taken down by her family.

Carla Alcorn, Leelah’s mother, wrote on Facebook that her “sweet 16-year-old son…went home to heaven this morning” following Leelah’s suicide. Carla’s account has now been made private.

News of Leelah’s death has spread through social media, with transgender celebrities such as Janet Mock, Laverne Cox and Andreja Pejic tweeting in respect to Alcorn.

Jill Soloway, creator of the Amazon TV series Transparent, which features a Los Angeles family with a father who is transgender, dedicated the show’s Golden Globe win for Best TV Series – Musical or Comedy to Leelah this past Sunday.

She stated in her speech, “This award is dedicated to the memory of Leelah Alcorn and to many transpeople who die too young.”

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