Hundreds gather in D.C. to speak out on transgender issues following teen’s death

A memorial to Leelah Alcorn is displayed at a gathering in Washington D.C. on Saturday, January 10, 2015. Sam Ufret, Courtesy News2Share Productions

A memorial to Leelah Alcorn is displayed at a gathering in Washington D.C. on Saturday, January 10, 2015.Sam Ufret, Courtesy News2Share Productions

A memorial to Leelah Alcorn is displayed at a gathering in Washington D.C. on Saturday, January 10, 2015.

Demonstrators march in Washington D.C. on Saturday, January 10, 2015, to honor a transgender teen who died by suicide, and to call attention to transgender issues.Sam Ufret, Courtesy News2Share Productions

Demonstrators march in Washington D.C. on Saturday, January 10, 2015, to honor a transgender teen who died by suicide, and to call attention to transgender issues.

WASHINGTON — More than 300 people gathered in the nation’s capital on Saturday raise awareness of issues facing transgender individuals and to honor a 17-year-old transgender teen who took her own life last month.

Demonstrators gathered at the “Justice for Leelah Alcorn Rally and March” in Washington D.C. to speak out against transphobia and conversion therapy for LGBT youth, and raise awareness of health and policy concerns affecting the transgender community, reports News2Share.

The gathering was named for Leelah Alcorn, who died in the early morning hours on Dec. 28 after stepping in front of a semi truck on Interstate 71 near Lebanon, Ohio.

Leelah’s suicide was explained in a note she left on her Tumblr page, in which she blamed years of bullying and harassment, rejection from her parents, and for being subjected to Christian counseling and conversion therapy.

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Her death has resonated within the LGBT community, sparking demonstrations and candlelight vigils around the world.

“Oppression manifests in every aspect of our lives, but the way structural oppression is set up will have you to believe that we need to be fixed,” said Lourdes Ashley Hunter, the National Director for Trans Women of Color Collective, at the gathering (video).

“I’m here to tell you, we don’t need to be fixed there is nothing wrong with us. What is wrong is society’s depraved existence, willful ignorance, complicity, and inactive engagement which refuse trans people humanity and right to life,” said Hunter.

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