Guest hosting on ABC’s “The View” on Thursday, transgender actress Laverne Cox responded to the death of Leelah Alcorn, a 17-year-old transgender teen who died by suicide just days after Christmas.
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.
Cox recounted her own struggles growing up, including a suicide attempt at age 11.
“It got better for me when I learned how to reach out and get support, when I really did the work to truly love myself. And that’s a lot of work, but you can’t do it alone,” said Cox.
“I don’t want to demonize her parents, her parents must be going through the worst thing any parent would go through. But I think what they did by isolating her and not supporting her, she didn’t feel like she could reach out for support, I think that’s the worst thing you can do.”
A 2010 study by from the National Center for Transgender Equality report that 41 percent of people who are transgender or gender-nonconforming have attempted suicide sometime in their lives, nearly nine times the national average.
Additionally, more than 50 percent of transgender youth will have had at least one suicide attempt by their 20th birthday.
Editor’s Note: If you or a young person you know is LGBT and thinking about suicide, please call The Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386, or the Trans Lifeline at 1-877-565-8860. For adults over 24, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.