Christian stupidity sparks teen’s death
The parents of Leelah Alcorn, above, wanted their son to be ‘their perfect little straight Christian boy’ – and refused to accept that they had a transgender child.
They forced faith-based therapy on Leelah – with deadly results. On Sunday Leelah committed suicide in Kings Mill, Ohio, after posting a suicide note on the Internet. In it Alcorn, born with the name Joshua, wrote:
When I was 14, I learned what transgender meant and cried of happiness. After 10 years of confusion I finally understood who I was. I immediately told my mom, and she reacted extremely negatively, telling me that it was a phase, that I would never truly be a girl, that God doesn’t make mistakes, that I am wrong.
If you are reading this, parents, please don’t tell this to your kids. Even if you are Christian or are against transgender people don’t ever say that to someone, especially your kid. That won’t do anything but make them hate them self. That’s exactly what it did to me.
My mom started taking me to a therapist, but would only take me to Christian therapists, (who were all very biased) so I never actually got the therapy I needed to cure me of my depression. I only got more Christians telling me that I was selfish and wrong and that I should look to God for help.
Alcorn’s death, according to this report, has now sparked a fierce backlash against Christian counselling with the launch of a petition on Change.org for “Leelah’s Law” – a bill to ban conversion therapy in the US. The petition launched by the Transgender Human Rights Institute today has more than 146,000 supporters.
According to the American Psychological Association, conversion therapy is an effort to eliminate or suppress someone’s sexual orientation through counseling and psychotherapy. This form of counseling is typically supported by religious organisations that see homosexuality and transgenderism as a mental illness or disorder that can be “cured” by prayer.
Mainstream health and mental health professional organisations do not support it, saying that it can result in depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior. Currently the practice is illegal in New Jersey and California. Similar actions have been voted down or withdrawn in Virginia, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Washington, Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, Hawaii and Rhode Island.
The American Psychiatric Association wrote in its 2000 position statement about conversion and reparative therapy:
Many patients who have undergone reparative therapy relate that they were inaccurately told that homosexuals are lonely, unhappy individuals who never achieve acceptance or satisfaction.
The possibility that the person might achieve happiness and satisfying interpersonal relationships as a gay man or lesbian is not presented, nor are alternative approaches to dealing with the effects of societal stigmatization discussed.
Alcorn’s suicide note said:
My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who commit suicide this year. I want someone to look at that number and say ‘that’s fucked up’ and fix it. Fix society. Please.
Alcorn, who said she felt “like a girl trapped in a boy’s body since I was 4” added:
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. Gender needs to be taught about in schools, the earlier the better. My death needs to mean something.
A Facebook post written by Alcorn’s mother, Carla Wood Acorn, hours after her death hints at the environment Alcorn grew up in. She asked her friends for prayers for her son who “went home to heaven” after being hit by a truck. It has since been removed.
According to a 2013 survey, 41 percent of transgender Americans attempted suicide. That’s nearly nine times more than in the overall US population, which is 4.6 percent. Gay, lesbians and bisexual adults have a 10 percent to 20 percent lifetime suicide attempt rate. Respondents who experienced rejection from their family and friends had higher rates of suicide attempts.
Hat tip: Angela K.