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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

And end-of-the-year Babble - Keeping Leelah Alcorn's memory (and message) alive

Hello, Darlings. It's been a crazy six months, but I won't take the time now to apologize for it. It's the end of 2014, and this message touched me so much that it insisted I share it. It started out as a FB post, but it really belongs here, too. I'll just get out of the way and say it.

This is in reference to Leelah Alcorn, a transgender teen who recently committed suicide, in part (a good part) due to a lack of recognition, understanding, and support from her family and 'friends'.

I'm not going to go on and on about the details. Chances are you've read about this already, and it's sad. Really, really sad.

At this time of year especially, I think it's important to focus on what we can - and should - learn from this, and on how to go forward. On how to live, and help others live, and not join the frighteningly-long list of trans*folk who attempt or commit suicide out of despair over not only their 'condition', but over the lack of understanding and support from those who should provide them. Us. 

'But Unicorn,' I hear you protest. 'I'm open-minded. I don't judge people on sexuality. I'm an advocate!' 
OR maybe...

'But Unicorn, I don't know anyone transgender. How can I show support?'

First of all, chances are you probably do know someone, possibly more than one. But you don't know you know, because they are keeping it under wraps. Why? Out of fear of being judged, fear of rejection, fear of attack, fear for their futures, fear for their lives. 

Do you think I'm being overly dramatic? I assure you, I wish that I were. But the harsh truth is, many trans*folk do walk around for every minute of their lives fearing physical and emotional abuse - and for good reason. That's what many trans*folk receive. And all because they had the audacity to be born into a body that doesn't 'fit'. What the hell?!

I guess that makes just as much sense as blaming the parents for 'making' a baby in the 'wrong' body - and yet I don't hear many trans*folk screaming at their parents for "doing this to them".

Maybe if the child can forgive the parents for "making them wrong", the parents (or other family, or friends, or bosses, or pretty much EVERYONE) should try just a smidge harder to stop punishing trans*folk for being IN the wrong body in the first place. Believe it or not, it's actually not a personal affront to anyone for a transman or -woman to want to live their lives. So let's stop effing it up and help them live.

So, back to Leelah.

Leelah Alcorn hoped her death would spread knowledge, awareness and compassion so that others could survive. While it's impossibly sad that she felt the need to end her life, her message is important. Critically important. "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."

Every day we get a little bit closer to this. People all over the world are beginning to realize that gender is NOT binary, not strictly black-or-white, either-or, and that some people are born a different gender physically than they actually are inside. These people are not sick, or confused - and they're just as deserving of respect, compassion and kindness as any other human being.

Because in the end, that's what we all are - human beings together.

Let's try a little bit of togetherness, and compassion - even to those we may not know personally, or see on TV; even to those we may not understand, or even like.

You may be surprised at how far that can go.

** It gets better. If you are struggling with depression - for ANY reason or reasons - please tell someone, and get help. Ending your life ends any possibility of improving it. **

If you're not sure who to talk to, reach out to, You can reach the Trevor Lifeline at 866-488-7386. Please get help if you need it. And if you know someone else who needs help, HELP THEM, too! **

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~ The Unicorn