reflective / sundry

A response to Leelah Alcorn, and for all teenagers convinced their death might mean more than their life

I was once one of you. My life felt worthless because I was trapped by a tyrannical father who cut me off from friends and support in every way he could. I was also luckier than most, because I had a supportive mother and step-father.

I don’t know the particular agony of being a trans kid, struggling with gender dysphoria  and the usual teenage self-hatred while your parents tell you how you feel is just wrong and you need to be cured.

But there are better ways to promote gender studies and even to “fix society” than stepping in front of a truck (which, by the way, makes another person an instrument of your death, and that’s a burden they have to carry for the rest of their life; not that you should kill yourself any other way, either, because however you do it, you’re going to leave behind a lifetime of trauma for all those who knew and loved you. That damage is going to outweigh any good you hope to achieve for the cause to which you dedicate your death, because guess what: suicide begets suicide).

Living is a better way to achieve those goals.

And the best way to spite parents you don’t like is to escape them, make your own life and family, and commit your life and resources to those exact issues you care about most, that are life and death to you.

Leelah’s death was a tragedy in every sense, all the more so because it was needless, and here’s one good example of why: #RealLiveTransAdult (A good collection of such stories.)

Another movement I’d really like to see come out of this: a specific organization for Christian parents, to educate and support them about having a trans kid (or any kid flouting traditional gender roles, or hell, behaving any way they don’t like) in a way they’d understand and appreciate. This would also provide a truly beneficial support group for the kid that the parent can approve.

Yes, Leelah’s parents made some awful mistakes, but we are all victims of our ignorance and upbringing. And demonizing their demographic does nothing to help their kids, present and future.

ETA: I should have been clearer this post is not directed at the trans community. I’m thinking of all at-risk teens. Also I corrected my misuse of (body) “dysmorphia” when I meant (gender) “dysphoria.” Here’s one article on the difference.

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