I just realised I’ve never actually made a post about the death of Leelah Alcorn.
I suppose I ought to. So here goes.
It’s shit, man. It’s really godsdamned fucked up. Her parents? I don’t know about the petition to have them charged with criminal negligence, but they’ve been pretty shitty. I mean, come on lady! “We loved our son” … bitch your daughter is dead because of that kind of nonsense!
The “therapists” she was taken to? Oh GODS, can we please get those quack clowns banned?! Maybe arrest them for criminal negligence, certainly take away their psychiatric licenses.
As a trans woman myself, I read her note and I cried. I was numb for … I don’t know how long. It was too much like things I’ve felt and thought in my life. My family, thank all the gods, are cool with who and what I am. How many trans* people, adult or child, can say the same? Would my life have been easier if, like little Jazz Jennings I’d been able to articulate my – I don’t want to say “issue” but it’s a concise word so why the fuck not – issue to my parents as a child? Sort of yes, sort of no. I doubt I could have started hormones before I was 18, it just wasn’t done in the 80s and 90s to transition a child like that. It was still classed a psychiatric disorder so there would have been attempts to counsel me and help me better conform to my assigned gender until it was obvious that that shit wouldn’t work on me. In short I put myself through the same hell that the doctors would have. I might’ve been happier, though. Maybe my parents would have let me present as female and wear dresses and things, maybe I’d not have worn a mother fucking tuxedo to my prom /shudder/ (but it was made very tolerable, my date was gorgeous and a sweet girl, always just friends, even though we were attracted to each other … life’s funny that way). But that doesn’t change the kinds of despair and self-loathing I would have occasion to experience.
We DO need to fix society. This IS some pretty fucked up shit.
No kid should have to go through that. We need the public to be aware of this stuff. It wouldn’t hurt for gender identity to be discussed in schools, as early as possible, because the sooner a kid has the ability to recognise what it is that they’re feeling the happier the life they’ll lead. No one should grow up believing they’re someone or something they’re not. No one should start to figure it out then somehow convince themselves that it simply can’t be so they should just keep pretending … that path leads to one looking forward to death, and that leads to realising that it’s silly to just wait for it to happen, that leads to … well, that leads to one more Leelah in a depressingly long list of them.
Friends and relatives have said I was strong, and brave and other things like that when I came out. I suppose in some ways I am and was. I tend to see it as cowardice, I came out because I was scared I couldn’t survive my depression from pretending to be who I’m not any longer. But … I suppose it took a measure of strength to make it as long as I did, and courage to accept who and what I am in the face of what it was going to mean.
That’s a past no one needs. We need no more Leelah Alcorns, and fewer Jaye Brinks; instead we need more Jazz Jenningses, more Sams.
There’s a trite saying “It does get better”. I don’t know that that is so true. It certainly can be true, but not if you’re sitting on your arse waiting for it to be true. If you can, you need to make the parents and family, friends and pastors, etc. see that they’re wrong if they don’t support you. If you can’t … do the best you can, and I mean in every way, to get somewhere better and surround yourself with people who will love you. This means, either aim high academically so that you have your choice of schools and can have the best shot at your career after, if you want to do art then pour your heart into that art so that you shine through on that guitar or piano, that mic or on that canvas. Make your destinies. I did, and it’s not roses and unicorns, but things are looking up, so that’s got to count for something.
There. One more in the laundry list of Leelah inspired blog posts. For what it’s worth, I thought I’d already made one. This is shit that needs talked about and she’s a good focal point to get that conversation started.