I wept when I first heard of Leelah Alcorn's tragic suicide. I felt her despair in her Tumblr message. Her words touched my heart and made me feel ill all at the same time. I thought about whether I should blog about it since there were already so many wonderful pieces being written. Would my words help bring justice for Leelah? I asked my son if he thought I should write about Leelah's death. My son's words propelled me to do just that. He said "Mom, you should, after all you write a blog about raising a transgender teen it would be silly for you not to write about Leelah." He was exactly right. I know Leelah won't see or hear my words but I am a spiritual person and I believe somehow her spirit will feel these words and take comfort in them. I strongly hope these words will also bring comfort to other transgender kids everywhere and to their parents as well.
I need you to not only hear these words but to feel them in your soul. Let them sink in and truly feel them and let them envelop you. I have something very important to convey to you. I need you to know that: I am sorry. I am so very sorry that you didn't have the love and support from your parents you so richly deserved. I am sorry that there wasn't someone you felt you could turn to. I am sorry that you felt isolated and alone. I am sorry that you felt you had no hope. I am sorry that your parents couldn't see past their own ignorance to embrace their daughter instead of condemning her. I want to be angry at your parents and condemn them right back. I want to yell at them and scold them harshly as they scolded you. I want to tell them that they can have their religious beliefs and still love and support their child. I want to but I know it won't change anything. I know it certainly won't bring you back. I also know even though your parents are grieving the wrong gender of their child, they are grieving nonetheless. I can only have pity for them and hope they educate themselves and that they one day apologize to you and ask for your forgiveness. Instead of posting your obituary, your parents could have been posting the birth announcement of their beautiful daughter and for that I am sorry most of all.
I need you to know sweet beautiful Leelah that the poignant words you posted before your death have not gone unnoticed. You say in your Tumblr post that your death needs to mean something and that we need to fix society. Leelah please hear this: Your death has meant something and because of you brave beautiful Leelah society is being fixed. There has been an overwhelming amount of support for you. There have been many smart talks on supporting your transgender child and smart articles because of you. Society has listened dear Leelah and you have NOT gone unnoticed. There is now a petition with over 300,000 signatures (including mine) to stop the very damaging conversion therapy. This petition asks for a law to stop conversion therapy and this law will rightfully be called: Leelah's Law. Dearest Leelah your life has mattered as a matter of fact your life has become legendary. You had more wisdom in your 17 years on this earth than most people have in a lifetime.
I am so sorry that you didn't get to attend your high school prom as the young lady you were. I am sorry that you didn't get to legally change your name to what it should have been. I am so very sorry that you couldn't dress as the lovely young lady you were everywhere. I am so sorry that you couldn't take female hormones and have surgery to transform your body into the female body you should have had all along. I am further sorry that you didn't get to fall in love with the man of your dreams and that your father didn't get to walk you down the aisle with pride. You Leelah deserved all of those wonderful moments and so much much more.
I regret that you didn't see one of my blogs and reach out to me. I post my email: email@example.com after every blog so that kids in transition and their parents can reach out to me for support and they do every day. I would have replied to you Leelah that you were a beautiful young lady and that even if your mother couldn't find it in her heart to support you that I would support you and love you. I would have told you that you matter and to please not give up. I need kids out there who are transgender and their parents to please know I am there for them. They must know if they email me that I promise to answer every single email and to be a support for them. I need parents to know there is support for them too. I moderate a private Facebook group called: Parents of Transgender Children. Parents can send a request to join and then email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org as every request is screened for safety and privacy of our members and I will then add them. Our group has reached over 1300 supportive and caring members worldwide and we continue to grow every day.
I started this letter dear Leelah as an apology to you and I will end it as a thank you. Your untimely death will pave the way for my son and for transgender kids everywhere. It will give them the hope that may be lacking in their lives. They will now have the very hope you should have had. As Harvey Milk said: "I know that you cannot live on hope alone, but without it life is not worth living. and you.. and you.. and you.. gotta give em hope." I promise Leelah I will not stop until there is hope for all. Rest in peace sweet angel.
Mary J. Moss is a feisty single mom to a terrific 16 year old boy who just happens to be transgender.
Email me at: email@example.com