|Posted on January 10, 2015 at 7:40 PM|
On Sunday, December 27th, 2014, Ohio transgender seventeen year old Leelah (Joshua) Alcorn took her life after years of psychological abuse and neglect by her evangelical parents. But before she did so, she penned a powerful note to her friends, family and the world, asking them to "fix the world" that drove her to end her life.
One of the things her parents did was to send her to a "reparative" or "conversion" therapist, who essentially tried to brainwash and bully the "trans" out of Leelah. These so-called therapies have been roundly criticized by the American Psychological Association, the American Counseling Association, and the American Psychiatric Association, among others, as being extremely harmful and having no therapeutic value at all. All are based on conservative religious principles and have no basis in science or research.
The public outcry was immediate and powerful. Major figures in the gay and trans communities called for her parents to face criminal charges for what they put her through. In addition to the "therapy," she was being given illegally high doses of anti-depressant medications, ones that include warnings about their use for adolescents, given that they increase the likelihood of suicidal thoughts.
The other immediate demand was for a national law mirroring those already in place in California, New Jersey, and Washington DC prohibiting the use of reparative/conversion "therapy" for minors. Two petitions were started, one on Whitehouse.gov and the other on change.org, calling for the creation of "Leelah's Law" in her memory. The Change.org petition was the fastest growing petition of 2014. Please support the creation of this badly needed law, and help save more transgender teen lives. Write your legislators and let them know how you feel about it.
Some may object to my use of Leelah's "dead name," but I feel that having that might help readers search and locate more information about her life and death, especially in postings from family and their church leaders.
Watch the many videos about Leelah Alcorn on You Tube, and do a Google search for additional information.
2019 Update: Since this blog entry, many states have enacted laws that provide at least some prohibitions on conversion "therapy" for minors. Unfortunately, most have exceptions for "pastoral counseling" that allow religious people to continue damaging kids. No progress has been made at the federal level because this is widely understood to be a "states' rights" issue under the US Constitution. None of the states in the "bible belt" region have enacted such legislation, nor have other politically conservative states like Idaho and the Dakotas. The fight has a ways to go.