An Open Letter to the LGBTQ+ Community
Leelah Alcorn’s death was a tragedy, of this there is no doubt. Her struggles were the result of factors beyond her control, the product of baseless hatred and entirely outdated thinking. In an ideal world, there would have been a way for her to make it through her hardships. This, sadly, was not the case. Her parents cut her off from the wider world, from the network of love and support that is offered by the World Wide Web, thereby plunging her deeper into a personal hell from which there was no escape.
Her suicide note, brought to the public consciousness through the Internet, was at once heartbreaking and thoughtful. She wrote extensively about the state of the trans rights movement in America, and the hatred that certain groups cause simply because they fear that which is different from themselves. The ending of her note is particularly relevant. “My death needs to mean something. Fix society. Please.”
I would like to focus on that statement today. Leelah wanted, more than anything, to make progress as far as trans rights were concerned. She is no longer here to make that happen, but you are. Leelah’s death is already bringing about significant change. There is a dialogue about queer issues that surfaced in the wake of her death. It is taking place largely over the Internet, but that’s okay. Straight individuals are participating in that discussion, and are aware of the problem. These people might not have spoken up prior to the incident, but now they have. Change does not happen overnight, but it does happen. Keep fighting. For Leelah, for me, and for yourself.
In closing, I would like to ask something of you. Carry on Leelah’s legacy. March for queer rights, call out bigoted politicians. Make a change. As I said, the information superhighway is our greatest weapon in the war against hate. Use it. Post rants to Facebook and Twitter, spread the word. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind. And, most importantly, never doubt that a small group of passionate people can make the world a better place. It’s the only thing that ever has.
Just something to think about.