[Content note: suicide and transphobia]
On December 28th, Leelah Alcorn, a 17-year-old transgender girl took her own life. On Tumblr, she left a suicide note that discussed being rejected by her parents.
From USA Today on December 30th*:
“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 wrote in a post on Tumblr. [Tumblr has subsequently made the post private at her parent’s request.]
Her parents, she wrote, wanted her to be a “perfect little straight Christian boy.”
“My death needs to mean something,” she wrote in the post, which she scheduled to appear the day after her death.
Her final public words: “Fix society. Please.”
In the past week, Alcorn’s story has gone viral. Many trans and cis people have been mourning her death and calling for greater awareness of the crisis of suicide in the trans community.
Someone** on my Twitter feed mentioned that cis people need to respond to this suicide in a very different way than trans people do. That’s a very, very important point, and I want to take some time to spell out why. Read more…
[Content note: This post contains some major-league triggery stuff about depression and self-harm. Also, there’s transphobia. There’s always transphobia, lolsob]
Yesterday I wrote a piece about why I don’t like “love your body” campaigns. When I wrote it, I made a deliberate decision to omit any of my issues with self-harm. I’ve been thinking about that a lot.
First off, I think it’s inappropriate to start talking about self-harm at the same time that I’ve got widget up raising money for my medical bills. The whole “give me money or I’ll cut myself” thing is manipulative as hell.
Just to be clear that I’m not being passive-aggressive, I’ve long since decided that if I ever find myself insinuating that self harm is eminent, I’m absolutely stopping raising funds prior to doing so. It’s just not cool to put folks in that position, full stop.
And you know, since friends and family are likely reading, let me just say that I’m having a fairly decent week, all things considered. I’m an old hand at managing my depression. I’ve got a great support network. This being trans* shit ain’t fun (nor is mental illness). If it was, all the kids these days would be doing it.
As much as I like to ground my writing in my experiences, I’m not really here to talk about me as much as I am why I’m usually careful to not publicly talk about self harm.
If you’re trans* (or intimately involved in a trans* community), you’ve probably already noticed this: we’re constantly talking amongst ourselves about self-harm.