A transgender teen's apparent suicide has triggered national outcry from the trans community and LGBT advocates, who are outraged that the 17-year-old reportedly killed herself because her parents rejected her gender identity.
Leelah Alcorn, who lived in Ohio, died on Sunday after being struck by a tractor-trailer, USA Today reported.
Prior to her suicide, Alcorn wrote on Tumblr that she felt alone when her parents demanded she act like a "perfect little straight Christian boy."
"Please don't be sad, it's for the better. The life I would've lived isn't worth living in… because I'm transgender," Alcorn wrote. "To put it simply, I feel like a girl trapped in a boy's body, and I've felt that way ever since I was 4. I never knew there was a word for that feeling, nor was it possible for a boy to become a girl, so I never told anyone and I just continued to do traditionally 'boyish' things to try to fit in."
She added, "The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren't treated the way I was, they're treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights."
Alcorn's suicide — and the huge rates of suicide among the trans community in general — quickly triggered an outcry from LGBT advocates and trans people around the country. Many used the #RealLifeTransAdult and #RealLiveTransAdult hashtags on Twitter to share their stories. Here are some of those tweets.
If you're a trans teen and you can't imagine your life going forward, I'm 39, I'm a professor and blogger, and I'm happy #RealLifeTransAdult
— Ramona Peel (@DKSB17) December 30, 2014
I'm a geophysicist, a crisis counselor, and an athlete. I'm a #RealLifeTransAdult and I never dreamed my life could be this good
— Dukberry (@dukberry) December 31, 2014
I'm a 25yo sysadmin married to an amazing guy and finally learning to love myself as a #RealLifeTransAdult. It does get better.
— darth rosenberg (@CoffeeNBrotein) December 30, 2014
A study published in January by the Williams Institute at UCLA and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention found 46 percent of trans men and 42 percent of trans women have attempted suicide at some point in their lives — much higher rates than the 4.6 percent of the general US population who have.
I'm looking for transgender people to talk about issues you face. If you'd like to share your story, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.