Leela Alcorn suicide and America's transphobia problem

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Yeeeah anybody who used the internet is probably aware of the suicide of Leelah Alcorn because of her suicide note she left on Tumblr. For those who aren't aware:

If you are reading this, it means that I have committed suicide and obviously failed to delete this post from my queue.
Please don't be sad, it's for the better. The life I would've lived isn't worth living in... because I'm transgender. 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. I never knew there was a word for that feeling, nor was it possible for a boy to become a girl, so I never told anyone and I just continued to do traditionally 'boyish' things to try to fit in.
When I was 14, I learned what transgender meant and cried of happiness. 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. If you are reading this, parents, please don't tell this to your kids. Even if you are Christian or are against transgender people don't ever say that to someone, especially your kid. That won't do anything but make them hate them self. That's exactly what it did to me.
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.
When I was 16 I realized that my parents would never come around, and that I would have to wait until I was 18 to start any sort of transitioning treatment, which absolutely broke my heart. The longer you wait, the harder it is to transition. I felt hopeless, that I was just going to look like a man in drag for the rest of my life. On my 16th birthday, when I didn't receive consent from my parents to start transitioning, I cried myself to sleep.
I formed a sort of a 'f*** you' attitude towards my parents and came out as gay at school, thinking that maybe if I eased into coming out as trans it would be less of a shock. Although the reaction from my friends was positive, my parents were pissed. They felt like I was attacking their image, and that I was an embarrassment to them. They wanted me to be their perfect little straight christian boy, and that's obviously not what I wanted.
So they took me out of public school, took away my laptop and phone, and forbid me of getting on any sort of social media, completely isolating me from my friends. This was probably the part of my life when I was the most depressed, and I'm surprised I didn't kill myself. I was completely alone for 5 months. No friends, no support, no love. Just my parent's disappointment and the cruelty of loneliness.
At the end of the school year, my parents finally came around and gave me my phone and let me back on social media. I was excited, I finally had my friends back. They were extremely excited to see me and talk to me, but only at first. Eventually they realized they didn't actually give a s**t about me, and I felt even lonelier than I did before. The only friends I thought I had only liked me because they saw me five times a week.
After a summer of having almost no friends plus the weight of having to think about college, save money for moving out, keep my grades up, go to church each week and feel like s**t because everyone there is against everything I live for, I have decided I've had enough. I'm never going to transition successfully, even when I move out. I'm never going to be happy with the way I look or sound. I'm never going to have enough friends to satisfy me. I'm never going to have enough love to satisfy me. I'm never going to find a man who loves me. I'm never going to be happy. 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.
That's the gist of it, that's why I feel like killing myself. Sorry if that's not a good enough reason for you, it's good enough for me. As for my will, I want 100% of the things that I legally own to be sold and the money (plus my money in the bank) to be given to trans civil rights movements and support groups, I don't give a s**t which one. 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 f***ed up' and fix it. Fix society. Please.
Goodbye,
(Leelah) Josh Alcorn

As for why I haven't given you a link to her Tumblr page, her parents demanded to Tumblr that it be removed, and it has. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2895534/Heartbreaking-suicide-note-17-year-old-transgender-girl-DELETED-Tumblr-page-candlelit-vigils-held-honor.html

I think the saddest thing of all is that Transphobia is still running rampant across the Western World and the internet, so they have no one and nowhere to turn to. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/01/03/cover-ups-and-concern-trolls-actually-it-s-about-ethics-in-suicide-journalism.html?source=TDB&via=FB_Page

Shit that's depressing. As far as the 'publicizing' thing goes, I generally think that this, and things in the same vein, shouldn't be covered up for fear of provoking more, though I do think the reporting needs to be done in a respectful way, which the press often fails at.

1: Leelah/Josh Alcorn was a minor. The whole point behind things like parental consent is giving parents the power to stop their children from making what they consider bad decisions.

2: The matter of "conversion" therapy. I am strongly opposed to the idea of making people undergo any sort of therapy they don't want to, whether it be medical or psychological. However, I am extremely wary of the politics involved. I think people should be able to seek out professionals suited to their needs and beliefs. Some people seem intent on forcing everyone to share their views on gender and sexuality. That's a dangerous road to go down.

3: I think the parents made some bad decisions. However, I do not agree that parents are obliged to support all their children's personal choices. I feel when a parent names a child, that name is important. Changing your name is an insult. Expecting people to use your new name is even moreso. I flat-out disagree that parents should be forced to change their views on sex and gender to please others. What gives people the right to demand that they refer to their deceased son as a daughter?

4: What next? Suppose a young girl suicides because her parents won't let her sleep with her boyfriend. Will people demand that minors be granted legal rights to overrule their parents? There's a trend of eroding parental authority. Reminds me of Russian laws banning parents from mentioning the supernatural to minors, and recent, similar laws banning minors being told about homosexuality. This stuff can go sour very quickly.

Also, Arthur Chu sure loves to blame GamerGate for everything.

Andrew Eden-Balfour:
Yeeeah anybody who used the internet is probably aware of the suicide of Leelah Alcorn because of her suicide note she left on Tumblr. For those who aren't aware:

You DO NOT glorify suicide. You do not make a martyr out of a suicide victim. It encourages copycats from the most mentally vulnerable. Suicide is never an option and this entire affair is making it seem to be one to get a message out?! You especially do not glorify a suicide when that victim used someone else to end their life dragging them into it unfairly. You do not demonise the family of a suicide victim before they have even buried their loved one no matter the reasons. Yet with this we have the media DOING BOTH.

So lets all now brace for a spike in attempted suicides from the Tumbler crowd. Maybe otherkin, headmates, and self harming individuals will start dropping like flies with fun little blogs and re-blogs telling us why now for months to come. Lots of martyrs in waiting in the dark corners of that site.

Want to have a discussion about transgender folk's mental health problems? Cool. How about the psychiatric community actually get off their butts and classify Gender Dysphoria a mental health issue? That would start a pathway for transgender folks to get counseling and gender reassignment surgery on their health insurance. Oh no! We cannot do that because being transgender is perfectly normal.... for .05% of the population. Cannot have being transgender get the stigma of a mental illness again can we? Better to tell those afflicted they are perfectly normal and society needs to change instead of actually doing something meaningful to help them get the counseling and gender reassignment surgery they think they want.

Man I hate news like this....it brings up really bad memories of people I knew that commited suicide as well.

I hope Leela is in a happier place.

I actually kind of sort of knew Leelah. I had known her through my old tumblr that I hardly ever use at all, interacted directly with her a few times. She seemed very nice, if not a little spunky. I feel awful, like that I somehow could've done something to prevent the tragedy. Seeing that suicide note come up in my feed just made me feel sick. I've been in a funk since.

Anyways, parents murdered their kid in the name of their transphobic religion, not exactly surprised. It still affects me, but I'm no longer surprised, especially since my best friend from middle school, who was trans, died a few years ago due to her parents transphobic treatment of her. She was on-and-off homeless, depending on how drunk her mother was, and as a result she froze to death because the few shelters she sought out refuse to house her *cough* Salvation Army *cough* so she died cold and alone. Her father ditched them when she came out, which I guess in retrospect was a good thing because it meant he wasn't there to beat her for being girly like he did before she came out.

DC_78:
You DO NOT glorify suicide.

Good thing nobody is doing that then.

You do not make a martyr out of a suicide victim.

Read the suicide note if you haven't already. Thats literally Leelah's last request.

Suicide is never an option and this entire affair is making it seem to be one to get a message out?!

Over half of trans people already commit suicide. If anything, this event will be helpful, as there's a petition to ban transgender conversion therapy on change.org with a couple hundred-thousand signatures, transgender charities have been seeing a lot of donations, and the online and offline trans communities have been rallying together, even through something as inept as twitter with RealTransAdultLife, which is more or less ItGetsBetter, except with a focus on trans people since the ItGetsBetter project, like most LGBT projects, left trans people behind. Thats also why we had to make a petition in light of tragedy to get trans conversion therapy banned as well, because otherwise trans issues are entirely ignored by the supposedly pro-LGBT organizations *cough HRC *cough and the rest of the LGBT community *cough* OutServe *cough*

You especially do not glorify a suicide when that victim used someone else to end their life dragging them into it unfairly. You do not demonise the family of a suicide victim before they have even buried their loved one no matter the reasons. Yet with this we have the media DOING BOTH.

Leelah's parents made their choice. They sacrificed their daughter at the altar of their god. You wouldn't be defending it if it were a pair of muslim parents who beheaded their child for being trans, would you?

Want to have a discussion about transgender folk's mental health problems? Cool. How about the psychiatric community actually get off their butts and classify Gender Dysphoria a mental health issue? That would start a pathway for transgender folks to get counseling and gender reassignment surgery on their health insurance. Oh no! We cannot do that because being transgender is perfectly normal.... for .05% of the population. Cannot have being transgender get the stigma of a mental illness again can we?

Your entire post reeks of ignorance regarding trans stuff.. The medical community did reclassify gender dysphoria in the DSM V so that trans people would have access to care without the stigma of "disorder". It happened back in 2013.

If there's one ally that the trans community has, its the doctors and scientists who do research. If there's two allies, its them and lawyers. Otherwise, trans people have to die or start a riot for something to get done.

MarsAtlas:
Read the suicide note if you haven't already. Thats literally Leelah's last request.

Making a martyr out of them is glorifying their suicide. Last request or not it encourages others to attempt the same thing. It is a teenager not thinking through the consequences of her actions. In all of recorded human history that is a common theme from teenagers.

"The life I would've lived isn't worth living in," she wrote, "because I'm transgender."

She was a depressed and medicated teenager that could not see past Sunday. So why should we glorify her when people like yourself struggled harder to make it to today? So do not get me wrong I support your rights Mars, but I do not like the precedent this sets for teenagers with problems in the media.

Over half of trans people already commit suicide. If anything, this event will be helpful, as there's a petition to ban transgender conversion therapy on change.org with a couple hundred-thousand signatures, transgender charities have been seeing a lot of donations, and the online and offline trans communities have been rallying together, even through something as inept as twitter with RealTransAdultLife, which is more or less ItGetsBetter, except with a focus on trans people since the ItGetsBetter project, like most LGBT projects, left trans people behind.

Helpful? To what? Bann a type of therapy that the American Psychiatric Association has already called pseudo science? And donation are always good, but at the cost encouraging others to try ending their life by making Leelah some kind of symbol?

"Hey kids? Feeling like no one understands you or your issue? Try offing yourself after writing a Tumbler post. Then everyone will remember your name." Does not seem to be a message adults should be running with in the media.

Leelah's parents made their choice. They sacrificed their daughter at the altar of their god. You wouldn't be defending it if it were a pair of muslim parents who beheaded their child for being trans, would you?

They gave her poison commun wafers then, huh? You have some inside knowledge that they gave up on Leelah from your interaction with her? They beat her for being trans? Disowned her? Kicked her out? Sure does not seem that way according to their statements to the press.

But religion's nutty. I will not judge a set of parents for not knowing how to treat their child's problem without falling back on their own comfort zone in their faith. Parent's have a rough job and sometimes they fail, but it is awful that you make the claim that they sacrificed her in the name of their faith. She jumped in front of the tractor trailer, and maybe her parents, if they had been there, might of tried to stop her. I would like to give them that small benefit of the doubt. So should you and everyone else telling them to die, doxxing them, calling for their arrest, or for their employer's to fire them on social media.

But that is the way of things on the internet now. These people are no longer grieving parents. They are characters of everything wrong in society towards transgender folks. Effigies to either endorse or repudiate despite not actually knowing them or what they themselves have gone through and are going through now.

Your entire post reeks of ignorance regarding trans stuff.. The medical community did reclassify gender dysphoria in the DSM V so that trans people would have access to care without the stigma of "disorder". It happened back in 2013.

They made it a mental health ISSUE in 2013? 2014? You know like with extra knowledge and seminars to school counselors and such? Ramped up the awarness like they have with PTSD in returning veterans or ADHD and autism in schools? That must have flown by me when I was visiting my kid's school. I wonder how that reclassification has helped when it is not made a mental health issue at large so a constructive spotlight can be shown on this type of problem without having to have teenagers die and their parent's be hounded by internet hate mobs.

Looks to me like the CDC and APA missed transgender issues on their list.http://www.cdc.gov/Features/ChildrensMentalHealth/

Andrew Eden-Balfour:

I think the saddest thing of all is that Transphobia is still running rampant across the Western World and the internet, so they have no one and nowhere to turn to. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/01/03/cover-ups-and-concern-trolls-actually-it-s-about-ethics-in-suicide-journalism.html?source=TDB&via=FB_Page

Christ, several paragraphs into that article and the writer still hasn't stopped making it about GG vs Anti-GG. I think this just proves that other than heat death of the entire universe, there is probably nothing that will stop this debate.

That's so incredibly tragic. That is so sad. It's so sad and tragic that it's too late for her.

The only thing I can think to respond to this with is a strengthened resolve, to make sure that something like this doesn't keep happening. Transphobia must be stopped.

Ambient_Malice:
1: Leelah/Josh Alcorn was a minor. The whole point behind things like parental consent is giving parents the power to stop their children from making what they consider bad decisions.

Parental consent works differently for teenagers as you start getting towards 16 and 17. In particular, a 16 year-old can legally give consent to treatment if he or she can demonstrate that they're competent enough to understand the medical procedure in question, and this can override the refusal of the parents.

We're not talking about a 5 year old who doesn't want to get his shots here.

2: The matter of "conversion" therapy. I am strongly opposed to the idea of making people undergo any sort of therapy they don't want to, whether it be medical or psychological. However, I am extremely wary of the politics involved. I think people should be able to seek out professionals suited to their needs and beliefs. Some people seem intent on forcing everyone to share their views on gender and sexuality. That's a dangerous road to go down.

I assume here we're talking about gay-to-straight conversion therapies. The problem is that they don't work. There is no procedure yet known to medical science that is able to change sexual orientation, so all that's happening is that these conversion "therapists" are just taking people's money for nothing (and if such therapies did exist, that would literally amount to mind control and I'm not sure that's a road society should be heading towards). If they accomplish anything, it's to do more harm than good, especially when parents impose it on their children, and they have been denounced as ineffective and harmful by every credible professional organization.

3: I think the parents made some bad decisions. However, I do not agree that parents are obliged to support all their children's personal choices. I feel when a parent names a child, that name is important. Changing your name is an insult. Expecting people to use your new name is even moreso. I flat-out disagree that parents should be forced to change their views on sex and gender to please others. What gives people the right to demand that they refer to their deceased son as a daughter?

Because their deceased "son" identified as female. It would be quite like if everyone started demanding that you (the male) be referred to as female, the gender you do not identify with. There is no one harmed by her decision to identify female, so she should have that decision respected. Refusing to allow their "son" to physically adopt his identified gender is just like parents forcing their male (and identifying as such) son to undergo gender reassignment: the parents do not have that right. The law recognizes the right of minors to bodily autonomy.

4: What next? Suppose a young girl suicides because her parents won't let her sleep with her boyfriend. Will people demand that minors be granted legal rights to overrule their parents? There's a trend of eroding parental authority. Reminds me of Russian laws banning parents from mentioning the supernatural to minors, and recent, similar laws banning minors being told about homosexuality. This stuff can go sour very quickly.

But what do parents need that authority for? Of course, it's because children aren't necessarily mature enough to make big decisions. However, that teenagers may lack maturity does not make them stupid or incompetent, and indeed many of them can be quite mature. Parents need that authority to make decisions where their minor children cannot, however, sometimes the decisions of the parents can be objectively stupid: there is nothing productive that could possibly result from church-sponsored gay conversion therapies (which, to re-iterate, have never demonstrated an ounce of efficacy and are more likely to harm than anything else, and again to re-iterate are universally condemned by experts in psychiatry and counseling) in place of actual counseling.

FirstNameLastName:

Andrew Eden-Balfour:

I think the saddest thing of all is that Transphobia is still running rampant across the Western World and the internet, so they have no one and nowhere to turn to. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/01/03/cover-ups-and-concern-trolls-actually-it-s-about-ethics-in-suicide-journalism.html?source=TDB&via=FB_Page

Christ, several paragraphs into that article and the writer still hasn't stopped making it about GG vs Anti-GG. I think this just proves that other than heat death of the entire universe, there is probably nothing that will stop this debate.

Well it's Arthur Chu, what do you expect?

OT: Tragic to be sure. And I do think the details should be released. People deserve to know how personal it is for some people.

renegade7:

Because their deceased "son" identified as female. It would be quite like if everyone started demanding that you (the male) be referred to as female, the gender you do not identify with. There is no one harmed by her decision to identify female, so she should have that decision respected. Refusing to allow their "son" to physically adopt his identified gender is just like parents forcing their male (and identifying as such) son to undergo gender reassignment: the parents do not have that right. The law recognizes the right of minors to bodily autonomy.

I disagree that I have particular right to control what others call me. It's like moving to America, say, and identifying as an American. Others will disagree and argue that I'm a New Zealander.

Let's take John Smith. John joins a cult and changes his name to Moon Rabbit, and identifies as a post-human cosmic being. His legal name is still John Smith. His family disagrees with both the cult and his name change.

One day, John Smith falls off a cliff and dies. Now when his parents are asked about the death of their wayward, beloved son, why should they be attacked for not calling him Moon Rabbit? There's a nasty streak of "my feelings trump yours because my feelings are RIGHT".

As for Alcorn, I think the genuine problems have been buried under a lot of "How dare people not agree with my views on human sexuality!" I've no issue with parents punishing disobedient minors, but trying to screw with their heads because you don't like their views is very, very bad. It's a step below FGM and lobotomies. That is a problem. That is blurring the line of child abuse. But I have a large problem with people who would prosecute parents for raising children according to their moral beliefs.

Ambient_Malice:
But I have a large problem with people who would prosecute parents for raising children according to their moral beliefs.

But not all moral beliefs are created equal. The female genital mutilation you mention, that is a direct result of the parents' cultural and religious beliefs and nothing else. Or people who refuse to take their children to the hospital because they're part of radical Christian sects and watch their kids die of sepsis after an appendix rupture, that's entirely down to their moral attitudes.

Morality has to be updated with ethics and facts, otherwise one may risk being in a position where their willful ignorance could harm others.

Andrew Eden-Balfour:
I have the sneaking suspicion that your a concern troll.

A) Her family was a big factor in why she killed herself; I mean seriously, gay conversion therapy? Are you fucking kidding me? Those things only screw up the mind and make people a walking case of mental issues.

And I think you and the media have decided to politicise a troubled teenager's suicide note to start a conversation on transgender issues, ignoring the fact that in doing so you are opening the door to every other troubled teenager on Tumbler to do the same thing. To become the next martyr in the media. So which is the real "concern trolling"? My opinion on R&P on your thread, or the media's actions at large that could actually lead to other kids attempting to kill themselves? With a nice side order of, "Hey the religious parents are monsters! Get 'em!" on social media.

Oh and by the by there is a MASSIVE problem with teenagers in general committing suicide. Suicide is the THIRD leading cause of death for youth between the ages of 10(?!)- and 24. It results in approximately 4600 lives lost each year. The top three methods used in suicides of young people include firearm (45%), suffocation (40%), and poisoning (8%). See why I consider this entire thing repugnant yet on the part of the media?

http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pub/youth_suicide.html

As a parent I know what it feels like to worry that your decision might fail your child at any given time. Turning your back on a child for a second can lead to their death in an accident, and it does not get easier when they become teenagers. Believe you me. It can be terrifying. The parents did what they thought was best for their child, including medication for depression, wrong or not. Now we as a society get to judge them, ruin their lives in their time of grief, and the lives of their three other kids.

Andrew Eden-Balfour:
B) As Arthur Chu pointed out:

Yeah.... wow... really love to hear HIS insights into this issue. I wonder how many clicks that article got him? Hopefully enough to pay his rent.

But hang on a bit. That, again, presumes that Leelah Alcorn's death was an isolated incident. That suicide of transgender young people denied support by their parents is rare, and therefore inspiring new incidents-putting the thought in people's heads-is the largest danger here. It presumes that there isn't a massive epidemic of trans suicides already happening.

Yeah there are. I wonder where he was on this issue about a week ago? Maybe a month ago? Oh look he is here now and so lets hear his views.

It presupposes that the reasons for Leelah Alcorn's death are mysterious, individual, and personal to her case and that there isn't a huge, glaring societal problem that can only be addressed if we as a society take collective action.

Oh you mean like I just addressed in my first "concern troll" post? Maybe make Gender Dysphria an actual issue to fight for with more than a hashtag, some charity donations, and a change.dot.org petition? Fuck Gamergate does that and it is just about video games media ethics. I wonder how long until a new issue comes along and the social media crowd says "who" when someone mentions Leelah.

There's nothing to "politicize" here. When eight times as many transgender adults attempt suicide as non-trans people and when eighty times as many end up actually killing themselves,

Yeah even after getting gender reassignment surgery too. Even transgender people at relatively low risk with supporting families are still at 30% chance to commit suicide. It would almost seem that transgender folks need more than hormone shots and a surgery to become mentally well. Like the entire state of transgender medical treatment needs to be reevaluated, but let's ignore that and blame the parents entirely for Leelah walking onto the freeway.

when one trans person is murdered every three days and "gay panic" can successfully be used as a legal defense for straight men murdering trans women,

HUH?! Yeah big ole [CITATION NEEDED] here.

when, on a global scale, the average lifespan of a transgender person is only 23 years...

Global lifespan? Okay Authur Chu wants to conflate this girl's suicide with the global issue of transgender folks? Well lets ignore that in the U.S. 10 verifiable transgender folks were killed in all of 2014 then. Or just 2 were killed in Canada and 1 was killed in the U.K. You know the actual western world where transgendered folks have any rights whatsoever. Or the fact that he just said most transgender adults actually commit suicide which would help account for that horribly low number.

http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/beaten-stoned-and-burnt-alive-226-trans-people-murdered-year191114

Yeah nothing to "politicize" at all here. More like this article of his is just designed to get a click off outrage and generate more outrage with no actual solutions. More of "if it bleeds it leads" in Arthur's small corner of media.

I think I found your concern troll and you linked his article.

renegade7:

Ambient_Malice:
But I have a large problem with people who would prosecute parents for raising children according to their moral beliefs.

But not all moral beliefs are created equal. The female genital mutilation you mention, that is a direct result of the parents' cultural and religious beliefs and nothing else. Or people who refuse to take their children to the hospital because they're part of radical Christian sects and watch their kids die of sepsis after an appendix rupture, that's entirely down to their moral attitudes.

Morality has to be updated with ethics and facts, otherwise one may risk being in a position where their willful ignorance could harm others.

That's delicate territory. Forcing children to get medical treatment against their will is a thing that happens. And "ethics and facts" are usually open to dispute. You get scenarios where child has cancer. Child doesn't want chemo. Parents don't want chemo. So the child is taken by force, given chemo, and dies. Procedures which can't be undone are inherently a massive problem.

Suppose you get a young person who is encouraged to get sexual reassignment surgery by their parents. Afterwards, they fall into depression and commit suicide. It's well documented that SRS is associated with higher rates of suicide and mental instability. John Hopkins stopped doing sexual reassignment surgery because they decided that it wasn't helping.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/paul-mchugh-transgender-surgery-isnt-the-solution-1402615120

Do we blame the parents for their views leading to death? This topic is so viciously political. Saying that "encouraging sexual reassignment will lead to deaths" is a view that has statistical backing, but is unpopular because it offends some people.

The parents were completely in the wrong in this situation. Not granting permission for the surgery I can sort of understand but everything else they did though was completely and utterly terrible. The friends seem like jerks too.

Ambient_Malice:
But I have a large problem with people who would prosecute parents for raising children according to their moral beliefs.

"Moral beliefs" is not a blanket protection. Especially if those moral beliefs led to the children suffering and taking it's own life.

TheKasp:

Ambient_Malice:
But I have a large problem with people who would prosecute parents for raising children according to their moral beliefs.

"Moral beliefs" is not a blanket protection. Especially if those moral beliefs led to the children suffering and taking it's own life.

Suppose they were 100% supportive and approved sex change surgery. When their child comitted suicide, it'd be easy to argue they were responsible. A lot of the logic people are tossing around assumes that Leelah/Josh killed themselves as a result of their parents. Well, stats imply that allowing them to get a sex change would be significantly likely to lead to ill mental health and suicide. So if Leelah/Josh killed themselves after SRS, would people be calling for their parents to be prosecuted?

Another massive problem with these situations is the conflation of people who have a real biological issue and people who simply believe they were born in the wrong body. It's a nasty side effect of the extreme politicisation of the issue. People are afraid they'll be labeled transphobic for pointing out that believing you're male or female doesn't actually make you male or female. We're dealing with drastically conflicting beliefs about what it means to be male and female.

Her family was a big factor in why she killed herself; I mean seriously, gay conversion therapy? Are you fucking kidding me? Those things only screw up the mind and make people a walking case of mental issues.

I've always suspected that the people who favor conversion "therapy" know it doesn't work but get off at the thought of torturing into conformity a teenager with impunity.

The worst part of this story is that it leaves me with the nasty feeling that Leela's parent loathed her, are glad that she's dead and are only playacting the grieving part in order to preserve their respectability.

Ambient_Malice:

TheKasp:

Ambient_Malice:
But I have a large problem with people who would prosecute parents for raising children according to their moral beliefs.

"Moral beliefs" is not a blanket protection. Especially if those moral beliefs led to the children suffering and taking it's own life.

Suppose they were 100% supportive and approved sex change surgery. When their child comitted suicide, it'd be easy to argue they were responsible. A lot of the logic people are tossing around assumes that Leelah/Josh killed themselves as a result of their parents. Well, stats imply that allowing them to get a sex change would be significantly likely to lead to ill mental health and suicide. So if Leelah/Josh killed themselves after SRS, would people be calling for their parents to be prosecuted?

Another massive problem with these situations is the conflation of people who have a real biological issue and people who simply believe they were born in the wrong body. It's a nasty side effect of the extreme politicisation of the issue. People are afraid they'll be labeled transphobic for pointing out that believing you're male or female doesn't actually make you male or female. We're dealing with drastically conflicting beliefs about what it means to be male and female.

What it means to be male or female can be defined by biology or by the law. There is already a legal standard for men to be able to change into women by the law, and it is not that this overrides the bilogical defintion, but that the biological definition should not be used unless it is relevent. If someone lives their live as a women, how is it relvent that they use to be a man? The only instance I could see is if that they needed EMT, but in that case the situation is no more different than operating on someone with a unique biology.

Secondly, the leading cause of death for trans people is suicide in general, not that " getting srs leads to suicide." Ican see how you may of parsed that wrong though.
http://articles.latimes.com/2014/jan/28/local/la-me-ln-suicide-attempts-alarming-transgender-20140127

To quote the article,
" Researchers from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law found that the risk of attempting suicide was especially severe for transgender or gender nonconforming people who had suffered discrimination or violence, such as being physically or sexually assaulted at work or school."

So its the discrimination and assult making them suicide, and not the srs. Also the lack of acceptance in general.

And kids just "getting" srs is sort of rare. Its expensive at around 30,000$ and the youngest age it has ever been done was around 16. Not to mention, there are stringent laws in each state to modify and regulate just how a transgender people transitions. Note that I used the word transitions and not sex change, for typically a transition from male to female is more involved than that. The person who wants to transition HAS to see a therapist specalied in dealing with gender idenity issues. Only this person can give the go ahead for hormone replacement therapy, also known as HRT. This is just a way of gaining secondary female characteristics without surgical intervention, such as the redistribution of fat, lack of a cracking voice if your young enough, breast growth, etc...

This HRT can be done via patch, pill, injection, and doesn't have any wild risks either. There is the loss of bone density, but women have lighter bones than men anyways. Even undergoing HRT, in order to obtain SRS one must usually in most states do a 1 year real life test. That's living as a women without SRS, to see if this life is really for them.

To close, this situation doesn't suprise me, a lot of lgbt kids commit sucide, this is not to say that its ok, but the solution involves working with them in my opinion, than against them. You could argue having transgenderism labeled as a health issue would help these kids, but really I think all it did was stimgatize them. The issue isn't even transgenderism, its the sucide, which is caused by the kids being trans, and the parents not being accepting of them. So do we stop kids from being trans, or stop parents from being accepting? Historicaly, I think the kids being trans have the right of way, for then if we were to orks for a cure in not being trans , we could also by that logic work for a cure to stop being gay.
And I see no reason to cure someone of being themselves, when the opposite leads to their demise.

Sorry for the typos and grammer, no spell check on my tablet.

DC_78:
Read the suicide note if you haven't already. Thats literally Leelah's last request.

Making a martyr out of them is glorifying their suicide.[/quote]

So millions of people mourning her needless death = glorification. Gotcha.

She was a depressed and medicated teenager that could not see past Sunday. So why should we glorify her when people like yourself struggled harder to make it to today?

Again, not remotely glorification. Nobody is going, "Yeah, she died for the cause!" Nobody is celebrating her death. Well, nobody who isn't a disgusting bigot who thinks trans people should die.

So do not get me wrong I support your rights Mars, but I do not like the precedent this sets for teenagers with problems in the media.

Would you say that the nationwide attention given to Matthew Shepard's death and the resulting questions made about the problems of homophobia in society a glorification of his murder? I sincerely doubt you would. Why is it any different here? They're both victims of institutionalized bigotry.

Helpful? To what? Bann a type of therapy that the American Psychiatric Association has already called pseudo science?

Yes, a ban is necessary because not everybody listens to the APA. Not everybody is a rational, accepting person like yourself. Laws exist to put a prohibition on certain acts, typically those deemed harmful to society. How is taking this a step further and banning something that is the cause of suicide for a lot of youth a bad thing? Because you seem to be spinning it that way.

And donation are always good, but at the cost encouraging others to try ending their life by making Leelah some kind of symbol?

Again, millions of people mourning a needless death, saiyng how pointless it was, trying to get trans youth to tough it out and not do themselves in. I'd hardly call that encouraging anything.

"Hey kids? Feeling like no one understands you or your issue? Try offing yourself after writing a Tumbler post. Then everyone will remember your name." Does not seem to be a message adults should be running with in the media.

Yeah, trans people don't commit suicide because they want attention. Besides, if thats what you're concerned about, I'd be more concerned about the attention that mass murderers get, seeing as the media turns over every stone of their life.

They gave her poison commun wafers then, huh? You have some inside knowledge that they gave up on Leelah from your interaction with her? They beat her for being trans? Disowned her? Kicked her out? Sure does not seem that way according to their statements to the press.

I'll take the word of the kid who has nothing to gain by lying over the word of the parents trying to save face for driving their child to suicide. If you have any sense, you'll do the same.

I will not judge a set of parents for not knowing how to treat their child's problem without falling back on their own comfort zone in their faith. Parent's have a rough job and sometimes they fail, but it is awful that you make the claim that they sacrificed her in the name of their faith.

What else would you call what they did? They put their faith far, far ahead of the well being of their child and emotionally abused their child at every opportunity to not do so. All in the name of their faith. I'm merely calling a spade, a spade.

She jumped in front of the tractor trailer, and maybe her parents, if they had been there, might of tried to stop her.

And then when asked why, Leelah would've told them, and they would've thrown her in conversion therapy again. Probably a hetero camp, or as I like to call them, "youth rape and suicide camp".

They made it a mental health ISSUE in 2013? 2014? You know like with extra knowledge and seminars to school counselors and such? Ramped up the awarness like they have with PTSD in returning veterans or ADHD and autism in schools? That must have flown by me when I was visiting my kid's school. I wonder how that reclassification has helped when it is not made a mental health issue at large so a constructive spotlight can be shown on this type of problem without having to have teenagers die and their parent's be hounded by internet hate mobs.

So any effort to do something good for trans people isn't worthwhile if it doens't fix every last thing then? Well, I'm glad you're not steering the ship for trans rights.

I'd like to ponder the ethics of suicide martyrdom, but I can't believe that's the case here.
And I'd like to ponder the treatment of youth by parents who disagree with their children's behavior, but I'm not even sure that mattered here.
I just keep getting caught on things like these.

"I felt hopeless, that I was just going to look like a man in drag for the rest of my life."
"The only friends I thought I had only liked me because they saw me five times a week."
"I don't give a s**t which one... my death needs to mean something."

That first one is just vanity. I can respect a person's right to identify and behave in the way they want to, but looking exactly like you want is no entitlement. I can wish to be taller all I want, society has no burden to meet my request. People need to learn to accept ugliness sometimes. Frankly, I feel like that's just insulting to transvestites.

The second one is a no duh statement. Friends like friends when they're around. That's what friendship is. Being liked by people someone never hangs out with isn't friendship, it's popularity. If you want those people to like you the way they did when you hung out, hang out with them. It even says the friends were excited, why not just hang out with them and be friends again?

The third one is just frustrating. "I want to die for a cause! I can't be bothered to pick one specifically, though."

This isn't self-martyrdom for a cause, it's self-martyrdom for one's own ego. I don't know how much the parents could have prevented this suicide considering the contents of this note. I'll probably get in trouble with someone for speaking ill of the dead, and I acknowledge the possibility that this note doesn't even tell the whole story, but on its face, this reads "I wanted to be pretty, I wanted to be popular, and if I can't have those things, I may as well be important."

Oh ffs, can we give her the tiniest shred of respect as a human being and call her Leelah? Can we all at least do that for her? If you don't have the right to self-identify with your own preferred name, what rights do you have, exactly?

tstorm823:
That first one is just vanity. I can respect a person's right to identify and behave in the way they want to, but looking exactly like you want is no entitlement.

Passing isn't about vanity, its about survival. This is coming from somebody who was nearly murdered for being trans when I was clocked. I'm only alive today because my abductor had shitty aim with his pistol. If you don't pass, you'll face massive amounts of transphobia, up to and including the threat of violence, every single day. Its not about vanity.

The second one is a no duh statement. Friends like friends when they're around. That's what friendship is.

Missing the point completely. The point is that they weren't actually friends at all, they were just nice to her because they had to see her every day of the week. Outside of school, there's no relationship between them.

The third one is just frustrating. "I want to die for a cause! I can't be bothered to pick one specifically, though."

I think she was quite specific about what cause.

"As for my will, I want 100% of the things that I legally own to be sold and the money (plus my money in the bank) to be given to trans civil rights movements and support groups, I don't give a s**t which one. 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."

I can't tell if you're misreading the suicide note so poorly or being willfully obtuse about what drove somebody to suicide.

Ambient_Malice:

Suppose they were 100% supportive and approved sex change surgery. When their child comitted suicide, it'd be easy to argue they were responsible.

So? Now it is easy to argue that their transphobia and education that is based off their morals led to their kid taking her life.

A lot of the logic people are tossing around assumes that Leelah/Josh killed themselves as a result of their parents. Well, stats imply that allowing them to get a sex change would be significantly likely to lead to ill mental health and suicide. So if Leelah/Josh killed themselves after SRS, would people be calling for their parents to be prosecuted?

Another massive problem with these situations is the conflation of people who have a real biological issue and people who simply believe they were born in the wrong body. It's a nasty side effect of the extreme politicisation of the issue. People are afraid they'll be labeled transphobic for pointing out that believing you're male or female doesn't actually make you male or female. We're dealing with drastically conflicting beliefs about what it means to be male and female.

Another massive problem is that studies in regard of transgenderism are severely lacking and there needs to be a lot more done. It has jack shit to do with "unpopular opinion that just hurts someone feelings" (god I hate this dumb phrase) but the fact that many studies that your link based off their research off are lacking. I got that much info from a 5 minute google search.

The critics are not talking about their bloody feels. They talk about many of the studies used for the assertion being just bad.

But may I just ask you one thing... Do you really want to assert that transgenderism is not a "real biological issue"?

DC_78:

You DO NOT glorify suicide. You do not make a martyr out of a suicide victim. It encourages copycats from the most mentally vulnerable. Suicide is never an option and this entire affair is making it seem to be one to get a message out?! You especially do not glorify a suicide when that victim used someone else to end their life dragging them into it unfairly. You do not demonise the family of a suicide victim before they have even buried their loved one no matter the reasons. Yet with this we have the media DOING BOTH.

But you should talk about the reasons why people commit suicide, both in general and particular examples. Showing a suicide letter and talking about the suicide itself helps remove the stigma around suicide and psychiatric illness. Talking about Leelah's suicide and the reasons why she decided to kill herself is important because it not only helps with humanizing the trauma that caused her to commit suicide, but also to humanize mental illness (as in depression, not transsexuality).

If this starts a discussion about another political topic, whatever it is transsexualism or the lack of good mental health care, that's probably a venue that needs to be explored, since it often relates closely to the why and the how of the suicide. To do the opposite and refuse to talk about the suicide and its' causes out of some well-intentioned, but misguided, respect for the family or the deceased is to do all of them a huge disservice. Could media have handled this with more tact and grace? Sure, but that's media for you and should have no bearing on whatever or not the topic should be talked about.

DC_78:
Want to have a discussion about transgender folk's mental health problems? Cool. How about the psychiatric community actually get off their butts and classify Gender Dysphoria a mental health issue? That would start a pathway for transgender folks to get counseling and gender reassignment surgery on their health insurance. Oh no! We cannot do that because being transgender is perfectly normal.... for .05% of the population. Cannot have being transgender get the stigma of a mental illness again can we? Better to tell those afflicted they are perfectly normal and society needs to change instead of actually doing something meaningful to help them get the counseling and gender reassignment surgery they think they want.

Are you seriously suggesting that we go back 30 years in time and start piling up the sexual deviancy diagnosis' in the DSM again? There's a strong reason that most of them have been weeded out of mental health diagnostics manuals by now, because they can't be considered actual mental illness. Unlike depression, unlike schizophrenia, unlike autism and all the other diagnosis there is no viable criteria for sexuality to be diagnosed as mental illness. Sure it might be deviating from the heteronormative, but just because something is different that doesn't automatically make it a disorder or illness.

To once more include them among actual mental illness and disorder is to de facto increase the stigma even more, instead of reducing it and increasing the chances for those of us that aren't heteronormative.

It's unfortunate that a person died. I do feel sorry for those affected by their death.

However, much to my displeasure, and likely to my textual harassment, I have to play a rather unpopular opinion.

I do not personally believe that in this situation was to prescribe SRS to a minor.

Regrettably, I can't help but find that suicide only furthers the case that transsexualism is a mental disorder, mentally healthy people do not kill themselves, thus one can only conclude that mental factors in play when somebody kills themselves.

This becomes a pattern when considering the higher rate of suicides amongst those identifying as transsexuals.

Even after SRS, significant numbers attempt suicide, commit suicide, and are admitted for psychiatric care than the general population.

The number of those who commit suicide, is actually higher than those who don't have the surgery at all.

I can't help but think we really need to shift the focus away from treating the physical complaints of transsexuals, and instead address the underlying mental issues, which are still present in most cases, even after the physical complaints have been addressed.

The reality is, on a biological level, one simple cannot become another sex. You will always by XY or XX. And besides a few anomalies, there is nothing else to it.

Thus, I can't help but see physical changes as only really being "Skin-deep", if you'll excuse the pun.

I can't help but draw some close ties towards body dysmorphia and gender dysmorphia.

Body dysmorphia is disgust with one's physical appearance. It's usually quite a crippling condition that results in people fearing to leave their homes, fearing interacting with other people and has a fairly high suicide rate.

The solution to that is not plastic surgery. It's therapy and medication.

Paul McHugh, a particularly accomplished psychiatrist recently came out in favour of readdressing the way we treat transsexualism. And whilst I'd like to discuss his opinion, I can't find any real sources for any of his claims to hand, so, given how emotional people tend to get in conversations like these, it's probably best to avoid too much discussion on him. However, if anyone has any studies that back up or counter some of what he says, I'd be interested to hear them.

In closing however, do not mistake my opinion for disrespect. I understand and emphasis with those finding themselves afflicted with this. I disagree with your treatment plan. Not your right to exist, nor your rights to respect as a person.

Studies in question:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3043071/?tool=pubmed

http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/AFSP-Williams-Suicide-Report-Final.pdf

Ambient_Malice:
1: Leelah/Josh Alcorn was a minor. The whole point behind things like parental consent is giving parents the power to stop their children from making what they consider bad decisions.

There is already an established precedent for overruling parental authority, no parent has the right to harm or neglect their child and for a medical example, Jehovah's Witness parents have had religious objections to their children receiving blood transfusions overruled by courts regularly. It's not like the poor girl was five, she was sixteen, easily old enough to understand and approve a life saving medical prodecure.

I know there is already processes by which a child can be emancipated in the US but they clearly need to be made easier to obtain, or at-least allow a child of sound mind to make their own decisions in key areas like healthcare. I've heard too many stories of kids stuck in terrible situations solely because of their age to trust in "parental authority", adult arrogance be damned, the final authority in anyone's life should be that person alone regardless of how many years they've spent on this Earth.

The Lunatic:

The reality is, on a biological level, one simple cannot become another sex. You will always by XY or XX. And besides a few anomalies, there is nothing else to it.

Thus, I can't help but see physical changes as only really being "Skin-deep", if you'll excuse the pun.

While it's true that chromosomes cannot be changed at present, they alone do not determine a person's sex. There are in-fact rare cases of women with XY chromosomes, as a result of their cells failing to react to androgens in the womb, and rarer cases of men with XX chromosomes, where the male-determining SRY gene has by chance ended up being grafted onto the wrong chromosome. That's not even touching the more common XXY, XYY and X0 combinations, biological sex is not as clear cut as it might appear at first glance. Ultimately if someone appears to be a woman and self-identifies as a woman, then that's a lot more important for all practical purposes than a few scraps of DNA in their cells.

Ambient_Malice:
4: What next? Suppose a young girl suicides because her parents won't let her sleep with her boyfriend. Will people demand that minors be granted legal rights to overrule their parents? There's a trend of eroding parental authority. Reminds me of Russian laws banning parents from mentioning the supernatural to minors, and recent, similar laws banning minors being told about homosexuality. This stuff can go sour very quickly.

Also, Arthur Chu sure loves to blame GamerGate for everything.

DC_78:
They made it a mental health ISSUE in 2013? 2014? You know like with extra knowledge and seminars to school counselors and such? Ramped up the awarness like they have with PTSD in returning veterans or ADHD and autism in schools? That must have flown by me when I was visiting my kid's school. I wonder how that reclassification has helped when it is not made a mental health issue at large so a constructive spotlight can be shown on this type of problem without having to have teenagers die and their parent's be hounded by internet hate mobs.

Looks to me like the CDC and APA missed transgender issues on their list.http://www.cdc.gov/Features/ChildrensMentalHealth/

As MarsAtlas said, the DSM-5 is the most recent revision of the APA's diagnostic tool for mental disorders, and classifies gender dysphoria as formal diagnosis. The recommended treatments for this are hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery. This case isn't like a teenager wanting to go out with someone the parents disapprove of, this is more like a teenager having clinical depression and the parents telling them to "get over it" and refusing to take them to a real doctor, while using quack treatments like homeopathy and camel milk. Not necessarily illegal, but extremely ignorant and borderline negligent.

MarsAtlas:
Snip

Now now, there's no reason for rudeness, and the forum rules do state specifically that it isn't tolerate, so, please, don't be rude because you don't agree.

1. I never said otherwise. In fact, if you read the post, I was referring directly and almost entirely to SRS, and no mention of implying one was the other was made.

2. Transsexualism =/= Sexual Dysmorphia.

Transsexualism is a state in which one desires to be another sex. It often involves severe depression, sexual dysmorphia and other mental disorders. So, yeah, depression is included in that, and the cure for depression is rarely surgery, regardless of the outcome of that surgery.

The fact she never got any therapy for that is indeed terrible. And, yeah, I can't say I'm anything less than terrified by the parent's idea of helping, but, that's not what my post was about.

3. Please cite sources. The sources I've found indicate this is not the case. They also show significantly that more people commit suicide after having SRS than those who do not, yet still identify as transsexual.

4. Cite Sources. Ideally recent. The current environment for treating mental disorders is significantly different than 20 or 30 years ago.

5. Not, it a categorical fact that you cannot change genetics. Thus you cannot change your sex. Transsexualism is impossible.

Transgenderism is not. They are not the same thing.

Also, again, don't be rude.

6. Cite sources. I expressed it as "Seeing a similarity", if you have something to disprove that similarity, please do, but, I'm not stating it as some sort of fact. I'm asking to be informed, so, please, if you have some studies on this, I'm curious to know.

And again, don't be rude.

7. I don't really want to turn this into a "Paul McHugh thread", but, sure, if you have articles on this, curious to know, please do provide links.

In regards to "Cis-splaining" let's try and stick to the science of the matter, eh? The fact is, there's a number of pretty toxic communities that simply don't encourage vulnerable people in situations like this to question their options, and instead inside that one treatment, which is shown to actually increase the risk of suicide is the only way. I think for the sake of discussion, one should avoid influences from such communities.

And, please, try to remain respectful, I haven't insulted you, thus to insist upon insulting me and calling me "Transphobic" without any real explanation as to how questioning the treatment of transsexual people can be improved, seems a little odd.

I could go into great detail on the ins and outs of my views on transsexualism, for some reason it's come up enough times on this forum.

But, to distil it into it's purity it's essentially this:

I do not believe there is any reason why a person of consenting age and of sound mind should be unable to change their physical appearance to that of the opposite gender, or of any other category they desire. Be this out of gender dysmorphia, body dysmorphia or even just boredom.

Whilst, at the moment, I view it as a cosmetic change. I hope, that genetic engineering advances to a stage at which people can freely change their biological sex.

So, I guess if being completely okay with consenting adults of stable minds changing their genders for literally no reason makes me "Transphobic" then, well, that's interesting.

The Lunatic:

The number of those who commit suicide, is actually higher than those who don't have the surgery at all.

You don't think that could be down to the intense discrimination and threat of violence many trans individuals face? The disownings, etc?

The Lunatic:

The reality is, on a biological level, one simple cannot become another sex. You will always by XY or XX. And besides a few anomalies, there is nothing else to it.

Yes, there is. You cannot simply state, "this is how it is!", going against the scientific consensus, and then say there's "nothing else to it". You're arguing against the professionals, the experts in the field, as well as the entire community about whom you're talking.

Firstly, we know that chromosomes do not correlate uniformly with gender. Not all men have XY, and not all women have XX. Secondly, we also know from brain-scans that a trans person's brain may be significantly physically different from a cisgender individual's, more resembling that of their identified gender, not the birth gender.

Thirdly, who the fuck actually categorises people by their chromosomes in any practical way? The practical differences between the sexes are genital, hormonal, and (to some extent) in other physical characteristics. That's how people distinguish in every interaction.

[[Edited a section out]]

The Lunatic:
Transsexualism is a state in which one desires to be another sex. It often involves severe depression, sexual dysmorphia and other mental disorders. So, yeah, depression is included in that, and the cure for depression is rarely surgery, regardless of the outcome of that surgery.

You literally just described the symptoms of gender dysphoria, also called gender identity disorder or GID.

Symptoms of GID in children include disgust at their own genitalia, social isolation from their peers, anxiety, loneliness and depression.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_identity_disorder

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