Christian stupidity sparks teen’s death

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 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 Similar actions have been voted down or withdrawn in Virginia, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Washington, Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, Hawaii and Rhode Island.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.

31 responses to “Christian stupidity sparks teen’s death”

  1. jay says:

    One thing that bothered me (and my wife) about this is that while the suicide note talks about concern for feelings, no regard seems to have been given for the feelings of that truck driver. That guy has a scar that will always be with him.

    Respect for feelings goes different ways. We all make choices. Don’t drag some innocent person into it.

  2. L.Long says:

    Its nice to know that xtians are the religion of love and respect and does no harm to others.

  3. 1859 says:

    Can any one give me the link so I can sign the transgender petition?, Poor kid – I would so much like to kick his stupid parents in the teeth!

  4. 1859 says:

    Found it and signed. Won’t bring him back………

  5. Broga says:

    No one, but no one, is going to change their sex except under the most powerful compulsion. If you care for your child the only way is acceptance and support.

  6. Ivan says:

    Her parents are actually proposing (or is that threatening) to put Leelah’s male birth name on the tombstone. One can hardly imagine a more inappropriate, self-centred or final insult. There is a petition here asking them to re-consider:

    Thousands have already signed.

  7. Broga says:

    I’ve signed. A tragic story. Sadly so often repeated.

  8. Daz says:

    Also signed. It won’t bring her back, but might raise awareness.

  9. barriejohn says:

    This is incredibly sad, and indicative of the difficulty that Christians face when confronted with real problems in the real world, as opposed to their make-believe world where “God doesn’t make mistakes”. You may well ask what their response is when dealing with hermaphrodites – which quite clearly exist both as “mistakes” and as normal living creatures – and once again we find that this “confusion” (“God is not the author of confusion”) is the result of “The Fall”:

    Let me start by saying that I hold the Bible as the ultimate authority to test any answers. Your question indicates that you also start with that foundation. You understand that, since sin entered the world, “the whole creation groaneth.” The curse of mutations and disease processes mars everything, even the original perfect design, for “he which made them at the beginning made them male and female.”

    So, despite all the evidence – witnessed by children in junior school biology lessons – God DID create all animals (whatever one means by “animals” – more confusion) “male and female”. Everything has to fit into neat little categories, and anything which apparently doesn’t is down to sin and Satan – simple. These people have a serious problem dealing with reality.

  10. tonye says:

    ‘God doesn’t make mistakes’

    No? Well look at the world’s various clergy and ask me that a second time.

  11. Robster says:

    The more I read about christians and especially fundamental christians, the more there is to dislike. Do these silly god besotted dirtbags take professional idiot pills?

  12. Trevor Blake says:

    “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.” – Deuteronomy 22:5

    “For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.”- Romans 1:26-27

    That is the facts in religion in question – if your child crossdresses or is same-sex attracted, they get “the due penalty.” These parents were not hypocrits. Only murdererous.

  13. L.Long says:

    “The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.” – Deuteronomy 22:5
    Most people especially xtians or even jews even knows what that means. i.e. what are women’s garments???? Because if a dress is a woman’s garment than almost all jews, greeks and romans of that age were abominations. And don’t even get me started on the scotts wearing skirts.

  14. Sally in MI says:

    Gee, Catholic priests and the Pope wear robes (dresses.) Not that the Pope is mentioned anywhere in any Bible. And I do recall the hysteria over girls wearing pants to public schools…I graduated in 1971, and it was only in my senior year that we were permitted to wear dress slacks to school at all (except under our skirts in the winter when we walked to school, and then we had to take them off when we arrived.)
    This child might as well have been murdered by his parents. Their church should bear the burden also. But I’m sure they are relieved that she is gone and they no longer have to be ashamed of their offspring.

  15. Caute says:

    The sinister pernicious tenticles of religious intolerance still colour the attitudes of most people, not just the rabidly pious, but even moderate and otherwise sensible people. I work in a big global company alongside thousands of people from many different countries. Mosy of us are engineers, highly trained and well educated… we are on the whole rational, questioning, ”facts and data” people. But one of our number, a close work colleague of mine, took the very brave and unexpected step of undergoing the change .. he is now a she. None of us saw it coming but in retrospect the clues were there but misinterpreted ..the cookery classes, the interest in fashion, were all assumed to be ways of meeting lots of women. How wrong can you be. His/Her change was profoundly shocking to many people and HR sensationalised and made things even more difficult by over reacting with briefings and guidelines about inclusion. Many of the women, supposedly the sensitive caring gender, reacted badly by complaining that this person should not be allowed to use the female facilities. Several years later I think everyone involved reacted very badly … And I am convinced that in all of us there are deeply rooted prejudices put there by the entrenched pervasive attitudes that derive from religious intolerance. What should I care about what this guy decided to undertake other than say well done for doing what he was compelled to do. She now lives as a lesbian woman with another lesbian ex man….and she is very content…except for the continuing background discomfort of most of those who know the background and remember the days when she was a he.

  16. Angela_K says:

    The arrogance of the Mother is breath-taking, she is in denial and can’t see that she has done anything wrong. I bet all her christian friends are supporting this vile Mother for spurning her child and blaming Leelah for upsetting the Mother.

  17. Marky Mark says:

    Tell ya the truth, I don’t think the parents care at all about his/her death, I’m sure they consider the situation an embarrassment amongst their church friends.
    Since gaud doesn’t make mistakes, how would they treat a child born with a physical disability, couldn’t walk or couldn’t see?? I’m thinking that these are the type of people who ditch their disabled child in some supermarket, or throw them in trash cans when infants…the good Christians that they are, just looking for a reason to hate…even their own child.

  18. Newspaniard says:

    This mother should be totally ashamed and spend the rest of her life in the cause of trans-gender people, the bitch.

  19. barriejohn says:

    They’re still in a state of denial:

    The mother of a transgender teen who killed herself over the holiday season is speaking out, and making it clear she did not and does not approve of what she believes was her daughter’s choice to be transgender.
    Carla Alcorn of Kings Mills, Ohio said in an interview that she and her husband did not ‘support’ their daughter Leelah Alcorn, while also refusing to acknowledge her daughter’s sex, using male pronouns and referring to her as ‘him,’ ‘he’ and ‘son’ throughout the interview.

    A lot of positive comments, but much hatred as well. Amazingly positive article by the Mail though!

  20. Angela_K says:

    @Barriejohn. I looked at the Mail article, as you say very positive. I noticed the comment section seems to have been trolled by by fundies from the USA.

    I was banned from the Daily Mail some time ago and can’t re-register, seems my two IPs are blocked.

  21. Stephen Mynett says:

    Angela, should you want to have a go at the Mail again, this may help:

    TAILS is a live operating system that boots from a DVD or memory stick and give a good degree of anonymity, it should give a false IP address.

  22. barriejohn says:

    Bob Hutton has the intellectual capacity of a walnut.

  23. Daz says:

    Another petition:

    Enact Leelah’s Law to Ban Transgender Conversion Therapy

    @Stephen Mynett & Angela_K

    Regarding anonymity, I’ll probably end up in moderation if I add another link, but google for ‘tor browser.’

  24. Lawrence Newman says:

    I’m an atheist so have no religious agenda here. I despise religion

    As a logical atheist, it amazes me how other atheists can sit here and act so outraged that these parents are saying they had a son. He WAS a male. This is a biological fact. A male saying he is a female doesn’t make it so. Feelings do not override biological facts.

    What is happening to this world. WE’re trading Abrahamic religion for some weird progressive liberal religion. Feelzism.

  25. Daz says:

    Lawrence Newman

    Educate yourself.

  26. JohnMWhite says:

    Biology and gender are two different things. And an atheist and a fake atheist are also two different things.

    Not that one has to believe everything everyone here says to be a real atheist, and I am always wary of seeing untrue Scotsmen running around, but I do find it quite difficult to believe that someone could arrive at the conclusion that there is no god, turn up at a place entitled The Freethinker, and some be completely clueless as to how to use their brain. I suspect a honeytrap, hoping to ‘prove’ atheists demand conformity or at least start internal bickering. Unfortunately, the trap was telegraphed by being too ignorant to wear effective camouflage.

    As for the story itself, naturally it is tragic, and puts in perspective the danger of belief in spiritual consequences for temporal actions and even simple manners of being. Being betrayed by your own parents so they can appease their vicious god is a horrendous pain to experience, and yet it is the most sensible course of action available to anyone who truly believes in such a being and wants to get on with likeminded believers. People wonder why atheists can’t just leave it alone and keep their mouth shut – this is why. As the old adage goes, good people would do good and evil people would do evil, but for good people to do evil requires religion. It is the ultimate blackmail.

  27. JohnMWhite says:

    *”…and somehow be completely clueless as to how to use their brain

    I suppose we never did get the edit function back? Oh well.

  28. […] by the name of Lawrence Newman left a comment under the Freethinker article about the tragic suicide of transgender teen, Leelah Alcorn, […]

  29. Cali Ron says:

    @Lawrence Newman.
    There are many case studies in medical journals of people being born with both genitals, or some combination there of, or with traits of both genders. Clearly, the child was conflicted and needed support, not threats and dogma. Male or female, doesn’t matter. Love is supposed to be unconditional. Especially when it’s your own flesh and blood. Do you stop loving your child because they say they are transgender.

    Another tragic waste of a life destroyed by religion. Sadly, the mom is so blinded by here religious beliefs she never even tried to understand her own child’s desperate pleas for help. So much for god’s love. How can god love everyone, but hate all non heterosexuals. The christian religions (well, all religions actually) are so full of contradictions and just plain stupid stuff-how can anyone belief this Shit! It just leads to heartache, misery and sometimes even death. Tried to sign petitions, but neither link would work for me.