Main | Thursday, January 01, 2015

Dan Savage On Leelah Alcorn

The suicide of transgender teen Leelah Alcorn has been a trending topic of Twitter for two days and there have been hundreds of stories about her in the mainstream press.

Here's yesterday's coverage by Reuters:
A transgender Ohio teen walked in front of an oncoming truck and was crushed to death on Sunday morning, leaving behind a suicide note that has resonated around the world and led to calls for a federal law to protect other transgender adolescents. Leelah Alcorn, born with the name Joshua, was 17 years old and said she had been forced to undergo conversion therapy, which seeks to change sexual orientation through counseling. The practice has been banned in two states on grounds it is medically unfounded and puts children in danger.

Since Alcorn's death, groups supporting transgenders have called for a national "Leelah's Law" to end conversion therapy, calling it "psychological torture." Nearly 80,000 people have signed a petition on supporting the proposal. The American Psychological Association has dismissed the idea that sexual orientation is a mental disorder and said mental health professionals should avoid telling clients they can change their sexual orientation through therapy or other treatments. Supporters of the practice say it is an effective way to counsel troubled youths. Transgender adults took to Twitter after Alcorn’s death, offering encouragement to transgender teens with the hashtag #RealLiveTransAdult. "I didn’t think I’d live to be 30. Don't give up," one person wrote.

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