Just days after the tragic suicide of
Leelah Alcorn, hundreds of thousands of people have signed a
Change.org petition calling for a nationwide ban on therapies that
aim to alter the gender identity of transgender teens.
Alcorn, 17, committed suicide in the
early hours of Sunday by walking in front of a tractor trailer near
her hometown of Kings Mills, Ohio.
A heartbreaking Tumblr post in which
she blames her Christian parents for her death quickly went viral.
In her post, scheduled for publication
after her death, she said that she knew she was transgender since the
age of 4 and that her mother told her she was “wrong.”
“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,”
Her note ends with an appeal to reduce
the number of transgender people who commit suicide.
“I want someone to look at that
number and say 'that's fucked up' and fix it. Fix society. Please,”
petition calling for a nationwide ban on such therapies has racked up
more than 250,000 signatures as of Saturday afternoon.
“In the pursuit of honoring Leelah's
last request we the petitioners call upon the President of the United
States – Barack Obama, and the Leadership of the House and Senate
to immediately seek a pathway for banning the practice known as
'transgender conversion therapy.' We ask that you name the bill in
memory of Leelah as the Leelah Alcorn Law and protect the lives of
transgender youth,” the petition states.
“'Conversion therapies' have been
documented to cause great harms and in this case, Leelah's death.
Therapists that engage in the attempt to brainwash or reverse any
child's gender identity are seriously unethical and legislation is
needed to end such practices immediately. Transgender youth have one
of the highest suicide rates in the nation. We must not allow
therapists to increase those rates with therapy methodologies that
have been demonstrated in harming transgender youth.”
“All major psychological associations
speak to the heart of harms that can happen to transgender youth when
attempting to discriminate and change their gender identity.”
Hundreds also gathered Friday in
Columbus, Ohio and across the U.S. to remember Leelah Alcorn.