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"My death needs to mean something."

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"Leelah Alcorn, born Joshua Ryan Alcorn, walked in front of a tractor trailer in Warren County, Ohio and scheduled a suicide note to be posted on Tumblr after her death." - http://www.christian....suicide/45253.

I don't usually start out this way, on a sad note, but no matter how many times I play these words through my head, there is nothing but the same sad song coming out.

As a person who has lost multiple people to suicide, I am going to say what needs to be said; the living be angered and the dead be damned. It needs to be said.

Dearest Leelah,

I am angry with you, kid. Maybe other people won't say that to you, because you are dead, but I will, and I can, because you aren't here to defend yourself, so I can say what ever I want. I have read your note time and time again. I mourn you loss with the rest of the world of people who know what you have gone through, and felt your pain at one time or another, and some who maybe even today, this very moment know exactly what you went through.

I am sad that you are gone, and angry with you. You are not a martyr. I won't follow suit behind the people who say you died for a cause. No You died because you had some Romeo and Juliette romantic fantasy about changing the world by walking in front of a truck. Great. Now you're dead and some innocent semi-driver has to live with knowing he was the one who ran your body over. Didn't see that one coming in your attempt to change the world for the better, did you.

When you were a child, you realized you were different. You told and no one believed you. You said the words and others refuted you. You KNEW WHO YOU WERE.. a gift that so many don't ever get to receive, and instead of staying the course, and hanging on just a little longer, you left. Took your life and ruined the lives of the driver and the people who depended on him. You were suffering, and you made others suffer because you were too selfish to hang on just a couple more years until you could get out of your parents home and live a life of your own.

No, I will not be more kind to you because you are dead. It's the harsh reality that the kids I work with and talk to on a daily basis who feel like their lives are twisted tragedies of maladaptive behaviors and undesirable, unlovable masses of waste now feel like they have an 'out'.

"Leelah did it" [speaking of your suicide] "And people are noticing her!"

My response started out as one of compassion for you when I first heard your story, Leelah. But now it is compassion wrapped with truth. None of this candy coated "Poor Leelah". Rather "Yep Leelah did it and now she will never have a chance to tell her story to other kids going through what she went through, or how she made it out, and really learned to change the world"

A martyr dies for a cause he believes in, and goes to his or her grave with the full knowledge that nothing more could be done on their part, that they fought the good fight until the very end.

You, Leelah gave up.

And now you are a misguided symbol to the transgender kids I work with and talk to; that if things get too tough, their fifteen minutes of fame and admiration will come through their death... NOTHING CHANGES IF YOU GIVE UP!

How many years will people know who you are? How many months will your name roll off the tongues of the youth? People know who Martin Luther King, Joan of Arc, Jesus Christ, Buddha, and Nelson Mandela (Who suffered greatly for his cause though not put to death) because they stayed through the hard times, fought for their freedoms, fought for their rights, and the rights of others.

The problem is not that you were a transgender woman that no one understood. The problem is that you decided you would walk away, take the easy way out. "Mom and dad fuck you" are not words that can be held in high regards. Nope, they didn't listen to you. Nope they didn't treat you with the respect you believed you deserved. Yep that does make them sorta shitty parents. Nope, I don't agree with their actions, nor do I completely condemn them. As parents they did what they felt they could do to make their family whole on a level that they understood. Nothing more nothing less.

Socrates was a man who could have avoided death. There were people on the ready to give up their wealth, their families and their homes to help him escape prison. Other People hated him because he told the truth, and made people see their own hypocrisies. He was the snarkiest man of his day.. He chose to fight the good fight and follow through with the right thing to do. People listened to him, thousands of years ago, and even today. Newsflash.. he was a shitty parent, too and is rumored to have been a terrible son. You were not a terrible son, or a terrible daughter. You were a kid who needed to take more time to grow up.

You had a voice, you gave it away. The last words you wrote were words of deep emotional sentiment, and anger, and hurt, and mistrust. Your words wont last, because there will be another, and another and another who will follow in your footsteps of giving up. You will be in a long sad line of quitters. No one ever remembers the runner up. If you wanted to change the world, you should have stuck around, used your beautiful emotional talent to encourage others to be strong, and go on. Change comes through proactive measures. Not by giving up.

I am sorry you are gone, you had a lot to offer the world. You were obviously someone who had powerful things to say, but now, you can say nothing, and I have to contend with your actions through the kids I work with who say "But Leelah did it".

********************************************************************

To everyone else who would read this, I say this to you. Hang in there. Today may be bleak, and full of sorrow, but you are not alone. As trans people, we have all experienced the feelings of isolation, loneliness, and maybe the shame put on us by others.

If you know a youth going through a hard time physically show them this website:

http://www.thetrevorproject.org/ The Trevor project is for LGBT youth who see no other way out. If you are the one having a hard time there are a number of ways to get help.

On Facebook, there is a group 'Tri-States Transgender Group' it is a private group- Contact: Emilie Jackson Edney.

There is always another way. Suicide is not the answer, no matter how bad things get. Ask me someday and I'll share my story. Today though, it's about you.

You matter on every level of humanity. And somewhere, you are the single most important person in the world, to someone else. Don't give up. Don't give in.


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Posted

That was truly well written, thank you. I think of suicide almost daily, not planning, mostly fleeting, but wondering how much longer or under what conditions I'll last. Your writing was very inspirational to me, thank you.

Emma

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Posted

Appreciate your heartfelt response to Leelah. The transgender community needs to stop the self-destructiveness. Suicide is NOT the answer.

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Posted

We need to take care of one another. If we don't who will? No one deserves to die, but I won't sit back and pretend that this senseless death has done any good in the world.

With her intelligence, she could have gone on to do great things. She is not my concern at this point, anymore than anyone that I have loved that has moved on. My concern is all of us still here. She matter(ed) and we still matter. We need to take on our 'siblings' and protect each other, but also to hold one another accountable for our actions.

If we don't, more good kids will die alone. I wonder if Leelah was crying as she saw the headlights of the semi-tractor. Was she ready? Did she have second thoughts too late? Was she already feeling comitted like she couldn't back out because her letter would post before she could get back to it Did she fear retribution of her family more than she wanted to live? Did pride give way to a straight road to death? There are so many unanswered questions. Things we will never know..

I don't have the answers. I just know we need to love each other, more than we do.

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Posted

Salem,

I'd really like to hear more from you at TG Guide. You write with a sensitivity that resonates with me. Thank you!

Emma

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