Leelah Alcorn
ParentsCarla Alcorn

Leelah Alcorn (November 15, 1997 – December 28, 2014) was an American transgender girl who gained attention in 2014 after committing suicide and making a statement about the societal standards of transgender people. A suicide note was published on her Tumblr blog. In this letter, she declared that she wanted her suicide to create a dialogue about discrimination, abuse and lack of support for transgender people.[1]

Life Edit

Alcorn was born in November 1997, as Joshua Ryan Alcorn. One of four children, she was raised in an Evangelical Christian environment. In a suicide note, she signed herself "(Leelah) Josh Alcorn".[2][3][4]

According to the suicide note, Alcorn identified as a transgender female from age 14, when she became aware of the term, having felt "like a girl trapped in a boy's body" since she was four.[2] Alcorn subsequently came out online, and turned primarily towards the internet for friendship. She attempted to convince her parents that she had to medically transition, but stated that her mother took her to conversion therapy instead and cut her off social media.[2][5]

The note also describes Alcorn's coming out as gay at age 16, hoping it would be a stepping stone to coming out as transgender at a later date. She wrote that she was instead taken out of school by her parents and cut off from the outside world for five months as her parents denied her access to social media and many forms of communication. She described this as a large contributing factor towards her suicide.[2]

Death Edit

Police told news sources that Alcorn was walking southbound on Interstate 71 near Union township when she was struck by a semi-trailer just before 2:30 am near the South Lebanon exit.[6] She died at the scene. It is believed that Alcorn walked three to four miles from her parents' house in nearby Kings Mill, Ohio, before being struck.[7][8] The highway was closed for more than an hour after the incident.[9] The driver has not been charged.[10]

Reaction Edit

Alcorn's death sparked widespread reaction across social networks, and the apparent disregard that her parents had for her gender identity has angered many in the LGBT community, according to the Daily Mail.[3] Amongst the transgender celebrities who responded to this were Janet Mock, Andreja Pejić, and Laverne Cox.[11][12][13] In addition to support from social media sites, advocates have begun petitions to ban conversion therapy (referred to as “Leelah’s Law”),[14] and more than 35,000 supporters signed a petition to include her preferred name on her gravestone,[15][16] and a Facebook group called Justice for Leelah Alcorn was also set up.[3] Her mother was criticized for misgendering her in a Facebook post by many of Alcorn's supporters.[16] In an interview to CNN she stated that Leelah had never referred to herself by that name.[17]

ABC noted that under the Twitter hashtag #RealLiveTransAdult, many trans people posted encouraging tweets for others, in response.[18] On Twitter, Dan Savage argued that Alcorn's parents should be prosecuted for her death.[19]

See also Edit


  1. Local teen's death sparks worldwide transgender discussion. Retrieved on 31 December 2014.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Alcorn, Leelah (28 December 2014). Suicide Note. Retrieved on 30 December 2014.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Transgender teenager, 17, leaves heartbreaking suicide note blaming her Christian parents before walking in front of tractor trailer on highway. Daily Mail. Retrieved on 31 December 2014.
  4. Transgender teenager Leelah Alcorn took her life because ‘parents would not allow her to transition’. The Independent. Retrieved on 31 December 2014.
  5. Transgender teen Leelah Alcorn: ‘My death needs to mean something’. Boston Globe (31 December 2014). Retrieved on 1 January 2015.
  6. Boy, 17, hit and killed by semi on I-71 (30 December 2014). Retrieved on 30 December 2014.
  7. Transgender teen struck and killed on Ohio interstate in apparent suicide. LGBTQ Nation.
  8. Teen Killed By Semi While Walking on I-71. 700WLW.
  9. Transgender teen:'My death needs to mean something' (30 December 2014). Retrieved on 30 December 2014.
  10. WCPO Staff. Leelah Alcorn, Kings Mill teen killed on I-71, remembered as 'sweet, talented'. WCPO.
  11. Vultaggio, Maria (30 December 2014). Leelah Alcorn's Transgender Suicide Prompts Response From Laverne Cox, Andreja Pejic, Janet Mock. International Business Times.
  12. Mejia, Paula (30 December 2014). Suicide of Transgender Teen Sparks Heightened Advocacy for Trans Rights. Newsweek.
  13. Mains, Brian (30 December 2014). Leelah Alcorn suicide note sparks transgender discussion. WCPO Cincinnati.
  14. Leelah Alcorn’s Transgender Suicide Sparks ‘Leelah’s Law’ Petition To Ban Conversion Therapy. IBT (31 December 2014).
  15. Over 35,000 supporters sign petition for suicidal transgender teen Leelah Alcorn's family to use her chosen female name on her tombstone. DailyMail (January 1, 2015).
  16. 16.0 16.1 Dockterman, Eliana (31 December 2014). Transgender Teen’s Death Sparks Outcry From Advocates. Time.
  17. Brennan, Patrick (31 December 2014). Leelah Alcorn's mother: 'We loved him'. Retrieved on 1 January 2015.
  18. Leehlah Alcorn: Transgender Teen's Death Inspires #RealLiveTransAdult Hashtag. ABC (31 December 2014).
  19. Molloy, Antonia. "Leelah Alcorn: Transgender teenager's parents should be prosecuted, says gay rights activist", The Independent, 1 January 2015. Retrieved on 1 January 2015. 

External links Edit

Wikipedialogo This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Leelah Alcorn. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.. As with LGBT Info, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0.

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