Chris Seelbach, Cincinnati City’s first openly gay councillor, gave a nine-minute speech on Wednesday 7 January about the treatment of LGBT+ youths, motivated by his reaction to the suicide of Leelah Alcorn.
Seelbach read Alcorn’s widely-circulated suicide note – which had recently been deleted from Tumblr – and addressed issues that Alcorn had written about, including being forced into ‘conversion therapy’, parents who were unaccepting of her gender identity and being isolated from a larger community.
‘It doesn’t always get better,’ he said. ‘For many of us, it does. And it does with every single day that passes. But sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes the very people you trust, who you should trust … they fail you. And they continue to fail you. They make life seem like it gets worse with every day, not better. And when that happens and someone tells you or you hear in some polished media campaign ‘It Gets Better,’ it’s so easy to think ‘Not for me.’ Because that’s what your truth is – it’s not better.’
‘… The truth is we as a society, as a community … have failed you. We haven’t spoken up enough, challenged the beliefs of people who tell you you aren’t exactly the person God made you to be. Because you are. What I know for sure is that with every day, it may not feel like it gets better, but I know that you can get through it … You can because you’re exactly who you’re supposed to be … It will not be easy. It may not get better with every day, but you can do it – I know you can. If no one seems to have faith in you, I do … you are not alone.’
Watch the entirety of his message in the video below.