On Dec. 28, 2014, 17-year-old Leelah Alcorn, a transgender youth, committed suicide. News of her death quickly spread across the internet and news outlets putting the incident within a spotlight.
The last line of Alcorn’s suicide note read, “My death needs to mean something. 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***ed up’ and fix it. Fix society. Please.”
Alcorn’s parents were hardly supportive of her when she announced she was transgender at the age of 14. Her parents dismissed her remarks telling her it was just a phase.
In her suicide note, she wrote that her parents, who are extremely conservative Christians, thought she was wrong about truly being a girl, and that God doesn’t make mistakes. Even after Alcorn’s death, they still referred to her as their son, and by her male birth name, Joshua.
Suicide Prevention Resource Center analyzed studies on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) suicides, and found that 30 to 40 percent LGBT people have attempted suicide. Alcorn is just one of many who have succeeded.
Since her death, there have been other transgender people committing suicide as well, such as Eylϋl Cansin, a 23-year-old Turkish woman who jumped off of a bridge, and Andi Woodhouse, a 24-year-old American man.
With incidents like this happening all over the world, it is becoming more and more evident that people need to change. Society needs to learn more about accepting people different from them, be it gender, sexuality, and more.
This can be done through better educating people on these issues, and encouraging people from a young age to stand up for others who are in rough situations like Alcorn was.
“I would encourage students while attending Lewis and Clark to keep an open mind, because L&C has a commitment to inclusiveness. L&C seeks to be an institution that represents a way of thinking, seeing, and behaving, that shows an understanding and respect for all ethnic and cultural traditions. All groups have made valuable contributions,” said Allison Harper, coordinator of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
L&C is a campus that supports the LGBT community. L&C Pride is a club on campus that is open to everyone.
Harper is available to students in person if they are have questions or are looking for more knowledge regarding the LGBT community. Students can visit her in Caldwell Hall, room 1331.
For further information regarding gender, sexuality, and more, please visit http://bit.ly/1Kjx3W3, or www.glaad.org.