What happened to Leelah Alcorn is tragic and infuriating.
She was transgender but stuck with super fundamentalist religious parents who told her that she’s really a boy and that she’s going through a phase. When she wouldn’t relent in wanting to transition, her parents pulled her out of school and removed her from social media and friends, completely isolating her for months. Finally, after leaving her suicide note on Tumblr, she committed suicide.
Why didn’t her parents accept her? Because she brought shame to them. Because they wanted to maintain for themselves an image of Good Christians. In their minds, she stood in the way of that. In their minds, she had to be removed.
So they did. They removed her from school and from public pretty much. They tortured her with religious pseudo-therapy. Did they think they would “cure” her? Or keep her out of “sin” long enough for her to outgrow this supposed phase?
Any way you look at it, they wanted Leelah gone. They might have preferred that she simply stopped being LGBT or maybe not. They wanted everything that Leelah was to be gone, out of their life, out of sight, so that she would no longer sully their image, their honor.
So now that she’s dead… problem solved! It may be more extreme than her parents intended, or maybe not. They saw her as a problem that needed to be removed, so she removed herself for them. In fact, given the treatment of her leading up to it, clearly this is exactly what they were hoping would happen.
They couldn’t kill her themselves without going to prison or – gasp! – tarnishing their image as Good Christians, so they drove her to do it herself, not only to keep their hands clean but to ensure, in their minds, that she goes to hell where she belongs. They wanted an honor killing, and they got one.
And, as a youth rights supporter, I must ask the very important question here. Why in the hell were her parents even able to put her through all this shit in the first place? She should have been able to transition whether they wanted her to or not. She should have been able to stay in school and stay in contact with everyone regardless of how her stupid parents feel about her. She should still be fucking ALIVE and happy!
But they had power over all of this. Because just like they cared more for their image than her life, our society cares more about their “parental right” to control her (even to death) than for her life. And that right there speaks volumes.