Leelah Alcorn, a 17-year-old transgender woman, will break your heart.
Local Kings Mill, Ohio news outlets initially reported the death of 17-year-old Joshua Alcorn, Leelah's birth name. She was hit by a semitruck while walking on I-71 around 2:00 a.m. Sunday (December 28) morning. She was pronounced dead on the scene, and police are investigating the circumstances of her death.
When you look at the bigger picture of Leelah's life through social media, the circumstances seem much more clear than a teen taking a walk. The Tumblr post that Leelah scheduled for after her time of death, constituting her suicide note and final wishes, is gut-wrenching.
On the page where she describes herself as "the transgender queen of hell <3<3<3," Leelah left a post detailing her coming out to her Christian parents as transgender and their negative reaction. She eventually was pulled out of school and forbidden from using social media after coming out to her peers as gay. Even when her parents allowed her back on social media, Leelah says she felt lonely and like she had no friends.
"I have decided I’ve had enough," she wrote in the post. "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."
She requested that her possessions be sold and the proceeds, as well as the contents of her bank account, be donated to "trans civil rights movements and support groups."
"My death needs to mean something," she wrote. "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 f--ked up' and fix it. Fix society. Please."
In a separate post scheduled immediately after her suicide note and entitled "Sorry," Leelah apologizes to her siblings and various friends. "Please don't be sad," she writes to her younger sister.
Her words for her parents, however, were straightforward: "Mom and Dad: F--k you. You can’t just control other people like that. That’s messed up."
Considering her mother's Facebook post, announcing that her "sweet 16 year old son, Joshua Ryan Alcorn went home to heaven this morning" after an "early morning walk," Leelah's wishes don't appear to have been taken to heart yet.
(Note: All news reports, as well as Leelah's Tumblr, list her age as 17.)
For those still wishing to refer to Leelah as male, she also had a final message in her "Sorry" Tumblr post.
"Also, anyone who says something like 'I wish I got to know him better' or 'I wish I treated him better' gets a punch in the nose."
If you are transgender and thinking about suicide, or know someone who is, please contact the Trans Lifeline at (877) 565-8860.
If you're struggling with issues of identity, head to Half of Us.