By in Family

Her Name Was Leelah

About a week ago, a 17-year-old was stuck by a semi on an Ohio highway. At first it seemed like a tragic accident. When I heard the news, I assumed the boy's car had broken down. In the days after the fatal accident, it became clear that it was actually a suicide. Leelah left a note explaining why she felt like she had to walk in front of a speeding truck on the highway.

To Leelah's parents, she was a confused boy who needed counseling to help her understand that she was not a girl. According to her note, the counseling only made her depression worse. Her parents would not accept that she was transgender, even though she felt like a girl since she was four. Learning that there was a name for what she felt gave her comfort. Her friends weren't shocked when she came out as gay. She thought it would be better to ease them into the fact that she wasn't a gay boy but a transgender girl.

Her parents learned about her coming out and took her out of public school. She spend months alone in the house while she was enrolled in an online high school. She had no social media access and no way to get in touch with her friends. When she was finally allowed to contact them again, she found that she wasn't as close to them as she had thought. Though she could get online and communicate with other people, she was still alone.

Leelah knew that transition surgery is most effective when the process is started early. She wanted to begin transitioning at 16 but her parents refused to grant consent. According to their beliefs, what their son was asking them to do was wrong. As she got older, she felt more and more trapped. She felt she would never be able to live her life as a woman.

Leelah was buried in a suit. Joshua will be engraved on her headstone. To her parents, she'll always be their little boy. But according to her suicide note, she wanted her death to mean something. It certainly has the people in my city talking. Her parents are standing their ground. Some people are saying the parents are right and Leelah's anatomy says she is a boy. Other's say that's BS and she should be referred to by the proper pronoun. This group says the parents are dead wrong for not supporting their child and driving her to suicide.

What do you think?

You can read Leelah's suicide note here:

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Colibry21 wrote on January 1, 2015, 9:47 PM

I feel sorry for her. It's not easy having to deal with this sort of issue, but it probably didn't help that her parents didn't accept it.

acrogodess914 wrote on January 2, 2015, 5:46 AM

It is such a shame that even in death, they won't recognize their child for who SHE felt she was.

PattyTherre wrote on January 3, 2015, 12:45 AM

I think it is a tragedy BUT I have to admit that this person was just months away from being an adult who could make their own decisions. They (I read that calling someone transitioning they is supposedly correct...) could have transitioned without permission from their parents. I think they felt they would never e happy or accepted no matter what and counseling was desperately needed. Not the type that tells you that you are bad and should stop thinking that way but the type that helps a person accept themselves and love themselves. This poor child needed to accept that he was a she and that she could have a good life. :(