Wednesday, December 31, 2014

We've all had bad days ...

I've had a headache for the past two days. It's been really cold here in Los Angeles and I've had to turn the heater on. I had to say good-bye to my 15 year-old cat Squeaky last month. I had to say good-bye to my basset hound Bruce 2 years ago. My partner and I of 16 years broke up 3 years ago. My best friend died of cancer, my grandmother died and I got bullied so bad every day of my senior year of high school that I dropped out. 

These are all things that happen to every one of us, give or take. We deal with them. We don't like it but we deal. Can you imagine waking up every morning in a body that wasn't yours? Every day wondering what it would be like to be … to need to be somebody else? So uncomfortable in your own skin that not taking your life was a daily battle? I can't. 


Leelah took her own life on Sunday morning, stepping in front of a semi truck on Interstate 71. Leelah realized she was transgender when she was 14. Though she sought support from family, she received none. She posted a haunting suicide note to her Tumblr page, imploring parents not to react negatively if their child comes out as transgender, writing,

"Even if you are Christian or are against transgender people don’t ever say [to someone that they are wrong], especially your kid. That won’t do anything but make them hate them self. That’s exactly what it did to me." For Alcorn, the situation sadly felt hopeless:
Either I live the rest of my life as a lonely man who wishes he were a woman or I live my life as a lonelier woman who hates herself. There’s no winning. There’s no way out. I’m sad enough already, I don’t need my life to get any worse. People say “it gets better” but that isn’t true in my case. It gets worse. Each day I get worse. 

Alcorn ended her note with a call to action, imploring society to stop ignoring the struggles faced by trans youth:

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. 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.

I know first hand what it's like to live in pain. In constant fear of not being accepted. In constant fear of not being able to be myself. But I was (am) lucky. Lucky to have loving, caring family and friends. People who accepted me for who I am. People I could turn to for help. For advise. Or just somebody to talk to. My heart truly aches for Leelah. I hurt for her because she had no one to turn to. No one that would listen to her. No one to hear her cries for help.

My heart hurts for society as well. What have we lost? The poems and wisdom of another Maya Angelou? The acting talents of another Meryl Streep? A political powerhouse of another Hillary Clinton? The medical brain of Marie Curie?

Sadly we will never know.