Leelah Alcorn’s Memory Lives On at Golden Globes and Beyond
The death of Leelah Alcorn has shaken the LGBT community to its core. Many have responded saying that her suicide was “the transgender tipping point.” What made her passing such an ongoing topic of conversation was the suicide note she left on her blog. The letter detailed the rejection she experienced as a trans teen, striking a familiar chord in youth across the nation.
But, as we’ve seen in the past, with everything bad comes something positive. What makes Alcorn’s situation rather inspiring is the amount of people who are coming forward to do good for others in her memory.
At the Golden Globes Sunday night, Jill Soloway, creator of Best TV Series, Comedy winner Transparent, dedicated her win to Alcorn’s memory:
This award is dedicated to the memory of Leelah Alcorn and too many trans people who die too young. … And it’s dedicated to you, my trans parent, my moppa. You’re watching at home right now. I just want to thank you for coming out because in doing so you made a break for freedom, you told your truth, you taught me how to tell my truth and make this show. And maybe we’re going to be able to teach the world something about authenticity and truth and love. To love.
One of Leelah’s pieces of artwork
But that’s only the tip of the iceberg in the way communities are working to make sure Alcorn’s memory lives on, and that other teens don’t follow in her footsteps. Here are some other examples:
- Clothing swaps, like the Transgender Clothing Exchange revved up their efforts to make sure trans teens have access to the attire that fits their identities.
- A variety of organization, including the Transgender Human Rights Institute and PFLAG are in the process of creating Leelah’s Law, which would ban LGBT conversion therapy, because, as Alcorn said in her suicide note, this was one of the triggers that made her want to end her life. You can sign the petitions here.
- The Leelah’s Law site is also in the process of compiling stories from other transgender youth across the nation, offering a platform for transgender teens to air their feelings and to let others know there are people out there going through the same experiences they are.
- And even though she is no longer with us, Leelah is making a difference in her own way: In her suicide note, she stipulated that everything she owned be donated to the trans civil rights movement and support groups: “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.”
With Leelah’s death on December 28th, we’re hoping that she will inspire people to improve the laws for the trans community for 2015, because #translivesmatter.
If you are a child who’s experiencing bullying, there are lots of organizations in Philadelphia who are willing to help. Start with The Attic Youth Center at 255 South 16th Street. Phone number: 215-545-4331.
Also, for confidential support if you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Learn about the warning signs of suicide at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
There is also a service especially for trans teens, Transgender Lifeline (USA), which is run by Greta Martela, who created Trans Lifeline. You can reach them at 877-565-8860.