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Sixth Anniversary of the Death of Leelah Alcorn


VickySGV

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Leelah Alcorn was a 17 year old Trans girl from Ohio who committed suicide by running in front of Semi tractor on a freeway near her house in 2014.  She had come out to her parents who sent her to Conversion Therapy and isolated her from supportive friends.  On the evening of December 30th at a Vigil held for Leelah outside the public library in West Hollywood I shared some thoughts when they called fo an open mic session.  It was my coming out as an activist, and several months later found out I had been picked up on a video camera filming another younger activist who had been the key speaker that night for a documentary on her life.  I was told by the producer a few months later that they wanted to use my on the spot speech in the film which they did with my somewhat shocked but willing permission.  

My feeling that night and again tonight is that parents such as Leelah's feel that they own their children, much like they own livestock or pets.  The child is clay that they alone shape into an image they see in their minds.  Society and their culture beat upon them though to design their child in certain strict and unchanging ways, and threaten the parent with shame at least, and spiritual damnation thrown in for good measure.  None of those things provide for a Trans, N/B or LGB child.  The parent though is given the rights to go so far as emotional and physical abuse to enforce the creation of the child society and their own safety demands.  Too few parents are able to fight for their children against those thing, and in time take the abuse to be a right and reward of parenthood.

 

Even in my own worst moments of parenting my three children, I have had the belief that I was not an owner of my children.  I was a steward of their lives who was involved as protector, feeder, and care giver for something outside of myself.  Kahlil Gibran, the author of the book The Prophet put it this way:  "Your children are not YOUR children, they sons and daughters of LIFE longing for itself."  There is more to the poem On Children that says I cannot visit my children's real world in my dreams.  Taking that route puts you at deep odds with your society and even religion in most cases, but it has prevented tragedy in my children's lives.  It is the route taken by the accepting and loving parents of Trans children who are coming of age to be leaders of our society now.  Those parents have endured antagonism and even death threats for accepting their children but they are showing the strength that another family did not have and a child who was their Trans daughter died. 

 

I promised recently to never refer to Conversion Therapy as actual therapy for changing Trans thoughts and behavior, but to call it TORTURE which is its true nature.   Leelah left behind a suicide note that had one simple request.  The request for society to make changes for acceptance of young and older people like HER.

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