Leelah's story on ISBL
Dear Carla Alcorn,
First off, let me say how sorry I am that your child, Leelah, your daughter, died last week. It broke my heart to hear her story, as I know it broke the hearts of many.
Sadly, it doesn’t seem to have broken your heart because, even after her death, you refuse to see that your child was struggling; you refuse to see that all she wanted was to be loved, to be understood, to be validated. You cannot even be bothered to call her by her name.
And that’s because you and your husband put your “religion” ahead of your child. You said you don’t support that … being transgender … religiously; that is transgender; that was your child; the fact that you didn’t support that caused your child to step onto a highway into oncoming traffic.
I’m sorry for that.
I’m sorry Leelah didn’t have parents who loved her unconditionally; I’m sorry Leelah had parents who, when they were told their own child felt “differently,” and had found a word to explain that difference, that her parents told her she was sick, she was wrong, she needed therapy.
She needed to be loved. She needed to be loved.
Sadly, you seem to forget that he wasn’t a ‘boy,’ but she was a young woman struggling with gender identity and your refusal to see that, understand that, accept that, set your religion aside and just simply love your child, lead to Leelah’s death.
All of us in that LGBTQ spectrum have had feelings of being different, of not fitting in, and we have all voiced those feelings at some time or another to our parents; luckily, a great many of us had parents who, while not fully understanding what it means to be gay or transgender, still told their children that they loved them.
You told your daughter she was wrong; sure, maybe you can say you didn’t use that word; maybe you can say that she wasn’t transgender because ‘God’ doesn’t make mistakes, but when you took her to therapy, she knew what you thought of her; and it wasn’t love.
And you talked to CNN about the medications your daughter was given by counselors and therapists, and you talked about how Leelah never spoke of being transgender again like she had maybe changed her mind. The fact is she stopped talking to you about being transgender because she knew you didn’t accept her; she kept quiet because, in silence, she knew she would never have to hear you tell her she was wrong any more.
You told CNN that there are all kinds of hateful messages on the internet calling you and your husband “horrible people.” Did you once, just once, think that telling your daughter she was “wrong” was a hateful message, or did you just forget about her and think only about your religion, your faith, what people might say about you knowing you had a transgender child?
Again, I am sorry for your loss. I’m sorry for your lack of acceptance. I’m sorry you don’t understand. I’m sorry you turned your back on your child and she walked away from your house that day and never came back.
She could have been amazing, and now we’ll never know because you told her she was wrong, but it was you, Carla, you and your husband who were wrong. It was the wrong choice of words, and the wrong choice, choosing religion over your own child; wrong choice not listening.
Leelah was right, and she would have been all right had she had parents who truly loved her unconditionally. She could have been amazing … she was on her way. Even in her suicide note, she showed more compassion than her parents, when she asked that you give all of her things and money to the transgender civil rights movement and to transgender support groups:
"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...Fix society. Please."
And, Carla, you can start fixing things now by calling your daughter by her name:
Leelah Alcorn. Stop refusing to accept that she was Leelah, even in death. She was your daughter, she was your child.
Say her name, Leelah Alcorn. Give her that much.