Leelah Alcorn: Transgender Teen's Reported Suicide Note Makes Dramatic Appeal
Teen reportedly asks that her death "mean something."
— -- A note reportedly left by an Ohio teen asking that her death expose the problems transgender people suffer has been cited by an Ohio official and has prompted police to investigate the death as a suicide and to determine if there was a link to the note.
Cincinnati City Councilman Chris Seelbach posted a long note on his Facebook page, a note that was reportedly left behind by Leelah Alcorn, who was born Joshua Alcorn. It reportedly had been scheduled to post on Tumblr after the teen died.
Alcorn, 17, according to police, died Sunday after being hit by a tractor trailer in a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio. Officers from the Ohio Highway Patrol told ABC News they are investigating the death as a suicide and looking into the note.
Calls to Alcorn's family by ABC News at their home were not immediately returned. According to WCPO-TV, Alcorn's mother Carla Alcorn posted that Alcorn was killed while out for a walk.
"My sweet 16-year-old son, Joshua Ryan Alcorn went home to heaven this morning," wrote Carla Alcorn on Facebook, according to WCPO. "He was out for an early morning walk and was hit by a truck. Thank you for the messages and kindness and concern you have sent our way. Please continue to keep us in your prayers."
The note by Leelah Alcorn was originally posted on the teen's Tumblr page, reported to be run by Alcorn, according to both ABC News affiliate WCPO-TV in Cincinnati and Seelbach.
Seelbach told ABC News that as a gay elected representative, he felt it was important to draw attention to the story.
"Some very sad news to share," wrote Seelbach of Alcorn's death in a post. "It has come to light that this person likely committed suicide because she was transgender."
In the note, Alcorn details the difficulty she said she faced growing up.
"The life I would've lived isn't worth living in… because I'm transgender," read a portion of the post. "I could go into detail explaining why I feel that way, but this note is probably going to be lengthy enough as it is. To put it simply, I feel like a girl trapped in a boy's body, and I've felt that way ever since I was 4," the note states.
The note reportedly written by Alcorn detailed her experience coming out as gay and wrote that her peers and school were receptive, but that her parents were not. She said she was taken to Christian therapists, who did not help her overcome her depression.
"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," the note states.
"The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren't treated the way I was," reads the post. "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."
Seelbach said he had talked to some of Alcorn's friends and her family's pastor after hearing about the story. He told ABC News that they all said Alcorn has expressed similar sentiments as those posted in the note.
"It's an incredibly difficult and horrible situation that a 17-year-old would feel the best alternative is to step in front of a semi," Seelbach told ABC News. "It shows how far we need to come on transgender issues."
Seelbach said he wants to focus on Alcorn's wishes and hoped to do more work on transgender issues.
"What we should be focusing on is how this happened and how we can stop this ever happening again," he said.
More than 50 percent of transgender teens will make at least one suicide attempt before turning 20, according to the Youth Suicide Prevention Program.
A Facebook group called "Justice for Leelah Alcorn" has already gained nearly 6,000 likes.