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Leelah Alcorn: The Fight for Transgender Rights

leelah alcornBy Tori Nix


On December 28, 2014, Leelah Alcorn, born Joshua Ryan Alcorn, was a male-to-female transgender who committed suicide, blaming her parents who didn’t accept her for being transgendered, and who isolated her from social media and other technologies. Leelah’s death has sparked outrage with the LGBT community.

Through Facebook, I conducted a survey to see what people’s initial reactions towards Leelah’s death were, and many reactions were the same: “Her death was hate and intolerance at work; she didn’t deserve to be treated so harshly by her parents. It made me sad for Leelah, and angry at her parents and society.” I agree with them, because society can be cruel, and people are scared to be who they truly are for fear of judgement.

In Leelah’s suicide note, she wrote, “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.” I agree that we need to learn to accept people for who they are, and to not judge by gender. The world, in my opinion, would be a better place if we didn’t judge, but accepted people for who they were.

“My death needs to mean something. We need to fix society. Please.” Leelah wrote at the end of her suicide note. And I believe that her death has meant something, not only to the LGBT community, but others as well because it’s showing how judgemental society is.



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