- A love letter to Manchester from the Corn Exchange - 10 February, 2021
- ‘If you don’t fight for something, nothing will change,’ says Pride 365 founder on Nicola Adams’ Strictly first - 8 September, 2020
- Rugby uniform gets more swipes right on Tinder - 2 September, 2020
17-year old Leelah Alcorn’s Tumblr blog has been deleted – erasing the suicide note where she alleges her family refused to support her as a young transgender woman.
According to The Daily Mail, the blog was deleted after Leelah’s Christian parents contacted Tumblr to remove the post, which blamed them for her death.
Leelah had written in her blog, ‘The life I would’ve lived isn’t worth living in.’ She had previously written on Reddit to ask if her parents’ treatment of her amounted to abuse. Meanwhile, her parents have continued to say they did not support her trans identity, while misgendering her across the media and internet.
The blog, which also included a stark message to her parents, has been removed entirely. The site now says:
‘There’s nothing here. Whatever you were looking for doesn’t currently exist at this address. Unless you were looking for this error page, in which case: Congrats! You totally found it.’
Among her impassioned pasts was a message to her parents: ‘Mom and Dad: Fuck you. You can’t just control other people like that. That’s messed up.’
She ended her message: ‘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.’
Tumblr confirmed to The Daily Mail that it was Carla and Don Alcorn who requested the removal of the blog, after news reports and social media users criticised their treatment of their daughter.
A Tumblr spokesperson said, ‘When a direct family member contacts us about the blog of a deceased user, we work with them to provide their desired outcome.
‘In this case, consistent with our existing policies, we have honored the family’s request and made the blog inaccessible to the public.’
In an unusual step for The Mail, which has in the past reported on trans people using the wrong pronouns and given names, the reporting refers to Leelah correctly throughout – indicating that Leelah’s tragic death has indeed raised awareness about trans sensitivity in some parts of the media.
In an interview earlier this week, Carla Alcorn told CNN, ‘We don’t support that, religiously. But we told him that we loved him unconditionally. We loved him no matter what. I loved my son. People need to know that I loved him. He was a good kid, a good boy.’
Leelah’s blog claims her parents had taken her to see Christian therapists who wanted to convert her, and that they began to isolate her when she came out as trans: ‘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.’
The Alcorn family earlier this week moved the location of Leelah’s funeral, as the minister said the family were expecting a negative response from the public. Campaigners and friends of Leelah instead organised their own vigils in Ohio and London, which were attended by hundreds of people. At the vigils, people spoke up about trans rights and the danger of Christian conversion therapy.
London campaigner Sarah Brown called for a ban on so-called conversion therapy, saying,
‘These [therapists] are killing our young people through their fraudulence, their negligence, their incompetence. The lawmakers and regulators who should be stopping them are not. Leelah’s dying wish was that we work to make these things better.
‘A good start would be to stop frauds and charlatans from pushing trans people into suicide through fraudulent, negligent and incompetent therapy that is worse than useless, and if they do, to ensure that they face justice for it.
‘I, for one, intend to make our lawmakers try.’
An online petition was also started to call on the Alcorns to put Leelah’s chosen name on her grave stone, which has had over 85,000 signatures so far. Her parents have so far refused to use Leelah’s chosen name.
Another petition, which calls for a ban on conversion therapy in the USA, has already received 264,000 signatures and is being dubbed ‘Leelah Alcorn’s Law’ in recognition of the teen’s legacy.
Because Vada wishes to protect the important final words of Leelah Alcorn, we have taken the unusual step of republishing it here in full:
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 ‘fuck 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 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.
(Leelah) Josh Alcorn
Advice and support
If you are a young person, or a family member of a young person, who has questions about being transgender or gender variant, you can check out Mermaids for advice and support.