For Leelah

The story of Leelah Alcorn hit me pretty hard this week. I saw the story on Facebook and spent a good hour on her tumblr viewing post after post of this poor child’s pain. I am not a perfect parent. I have made a lot of mistakes, every parent has, but I think that one thing that Ben and I have done right is teach our daughter that something as silly as her gender or who she chooses to love will never have an impact on how WE love her.

There are so many things I want to say about this but nothing seems strong enough.

Parents, love your children. Love them if they are male or female or transgender or straight or gay or bi or… Just love them. You only have them for a short time and that short time will build the foundation for the rest of their lives. Whether your child chooses to be a girl or a boy or who they choose to bring home for Christmas dinner really doesn’t have any effect on you. Your neighbor’s opinion of who your child dates should not matter. Your friend’s opinion of whether your child has a penis or a vagina and whether they choose to wear pants or a skirt should not matter. Your child’s chosen gender is not your decision at birth any more than it is when they are a teenager.

One of Cassidy’s best friends at school is a gay boy. He is such a nice kid. When I first read this story I thought about him. His quick wit, his overly intelligent sense of humor, the way he smiles kind of crooked when he laughs at one of Cassidy’s ridiculously cheesy jokes. It breaks my heart that this kid could possibly ever feel the way that Leelah felt.

I don’t understand how any parent could react the way Leelah’s parents did. I wish I could ask them. How is it that nobody stepped into this girl’s life and explained that this was temporary? That there is a whole life out there outside her parent’s house. There are entire communities that are fighting for her rights to be accepted. To be loved. To be herself. How did we let this child fall through the cracks? How did we let it get to the point that she felt death was the better alternative?

Just love your kids. Accept them. That is all.

2 thoughts on “For Leelah

  1. I know you mean “silly” as in.. trivial to whether or not you love your kid, but this could be misconstrued. Maybe is not the right word? Semantics are petty important here, and Leelah’s struggle was anything but silly. The way her parents downplayed it was certainly part of her struggle, and it makes me so sad.

  2. Amen. This poor girl didn’t have to die…that’s the worst part of what happened to her. If her parents had supported her, if they had loved her like they claimed they did, she might still be here with us, because she would have had the emotional support she needed to work her way through life.

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