News

Transgender teen Leelah Alcorn’s death stirs action in U.S. and beyond

Zay Crawford, center, a 12 year-old transgender girl from Yellow Spring, Ohio, holds hands with her mother, Chasilee, left, and father, Jason, right, at a candle light vigil to remember the life of Leelah Alcorn.
Zay Crawford, center, a 12 year-old transgender girl from Yellow Spring, Ohio, holds hands with her mother, Chasilee, left, and father, Jason, right, at a candle light vigil to remember the life of Leelah Alcorn. Meg Vogel, The Enquirer (AP)

[ Previous ]

While there’s concern among experts and transgender leaders that the immense attention to Alcorn’s death could lead to copycat suicides, some say it has belatedly pushed important issues into the spotlight.

“I think this had to happen at some point,” said Greta Martela, founder of San Francisco-based Trans Lifeline. “I think that we have to have a discussion about this as a society.”

Tiffany Neri, left, embraces Cassie Thompson during a group hug at the end of the vigil to remember the life of Leelah Alcorn.
Tiffany Neri, left, embraces Cassie Thompson during a group hug at the end of the vigil to remember the life of Leelah Alcorn. Meg Vogel, The Enquirer (AP)

Martela said calls to her organization’s crisis hotline shot up from 60 a day to nearly 150 immediately after reports about the death began spreading.

Alcorn was a talented artist who had attended high school in Kings Mills and worked at the nearby Kings Island theme park but had enrolled a year ago in an online school. She had friends in school and didn’t mention any problems in her Tumblr post with bullying.

But in it, she complained of depression and isolation, lamented that her life would only get worse, and expressed frustration that her parents wanted her to be “their perfect little straight Christian boy.” She said she was taken to “Christian therapists” who were “very biased.”

Some who knew Alcorn said they knew of conflicts with her parents but were stunned by her apparent suicide, which took place at 2:20 a.m. on Interstate 71.

Article continues below

The Ohio State Highway Patrol said investigators are awaiting laboratory results and other evidence before making a final determination about the death.

Many have lashed out at Alcorn’s parents online for everything from continuing to refer to Alcorn as Joshua to allegedly subjecting her to “conversion therapy,” which involves the use of prayer or other means to try to change someone’s sexual orientation.

(New Jersey, California and the District of Columbia have passed laws against the practice.)

Continue reading

First 24 hours of new Maryland governor’s tenure ‘not good’ for LGBT community

Previous article

Couple behind Alabama same-sex marriage challenge to refile adoption paperwork

Next article