The mother of Leelah Alcorn, an Ohio teen who committed suicide earlier this week has spoken out about her child's death and she wants to make one thing clear: That she loved her son but that religiously she just couldn't support his choices. That obviously included the fact that Leelah was her daughter.
Carla Alcorn knew that Leelah was transgender, but she says that the first time she read the name Leelah was in the suicide note (which can be read here) the teen left behind. She also claims that she told Leelah that she'd always love her, but couldn't support her for religious reasons while denying the fact that she or anyone else in the family had anything to do with the suicide. No memorial service has been held because Carla Alcorn is afraid there might be protests.
While protests are in order (not just for Leelah but for all trans teens who are not supported by their families and communities), it's painful to read her mother's words, not only because she's still misgendering her daughter but because she honestly believes that she wasn't at all a part of the equation that led to Leelah feeling such despair. Carla Alcron told CNN that she got Leelah therapy and medication. What she doesn't seem to grasp (even after the note and the outcry) is that Leelah likely didn't stop talking to her about being trans because it was only a symptom of depression but because she had felt betrayed and that her family had "turned their backs on her." CNN points out that Leelah wrote that the therapy she received was not the therapy that she needed (it was allegedly religion-based) and that her parents refused to sign papers allowing her to begin the transition process. And Leelah's parents were angry that the teen had come out as gay to friends at school.
What's most telling, again, about the interview is how staunchly Leelah's mother refused to refer to her daughter as such, saying over and over what a great child her son had been. This kind of erasure, while probably seeming small to Carla Alcorn, is one of the biggest issues that teens who are coming out as Members of the LGBTQ+ community face. For Leelah, it was too much and she felt there was "no way out."
The entire interview along with resources can be found here. As Anna Merlan said in her previous post, this could have been avoided. Parents whose children are coming out can and should reach out for support and resources from LGBT+ organizations.
Resourcest for LGBT+ youth from the original post can be found below:
Other Cincinnati-area resources:
GLSEN Greater Cincinnati Youth Group — meets weekly, for LGBTQ and Ally middle and high school age youth. / /glsen.org.
Heartland Trans* Wellness: TeenSpace and Cincinnati Trans* Community Group —transwellness.org
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