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

A large crowd gathers for a candle light vigil to remember the life of Leelah Alcorn, a 17 year-old transgender girl who committed suicide, in Kings Mills, Ohio.
A large crowd gathers for a candle light vigil to remember the life of Leelah Alcorn, a 17 year-old transgender girl who committed suicide, in Kings Mills, Ohio. Meg Vogel, The Enquirer (AP)

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Alcorn’s parents, Carla and Doug Alcorn, have said little publicly other than to express their love and grief for the child they lost. But Tim Tripp, the family minister for Northeast Church of Christ involved in counseling the Alcorns, emphatically denied using conversion therapy.

“I do not do nor have I ever done or attempted ‘conversion therapy’ for anyone related to issues of gender or sexual identity,” Tripp said in an email. “I do offer counseling here at the church, but it is primarily pastoral in nature and seeks healing for individuals, marriages and families experiencing some sort of struggle in their lives.”

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Of the family, Tripp said he continues “walking with them through immense and all-too-public grief in their loss.”

Public events in Alcorn’s memory continue.

In Las Vegas, Jackson Nightshade, 27, took part in an awareness and information session Thursday – spurred by Alcorn’s death – at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada.

“As tragic as Leelah’s death was, it could be kind of a catalyst for ‘fixing society,'” Nightshade said.

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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.

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