For Leelah….

1 May

As it pertains to Bruce Jenner and his transition to being a woman, I’ve officially reached my breaking point when it comes to the ignorant comments of some of my “friends” on social media .  Whether it’s ignorance to the very real reality of being transgender or whether it is flat out, blatant bigotry and transphobia, their jokes, snide comments and crude attempts at humor ignore and diminish the bravery and leadership displayed by Bruce Jenner in coming out.  Rates of attempted suicide among transgender individuals are at crisis levels, with estimates as high as 40-50 percent of transgender individuals attempting or having suicidal ideation.  Truth of the matter is that genitals do not equal gender, sex is not the same as gender and the mental anguish that these individuals have to endure is something that cisgender people (people who’s gender and sex match) can never fully understand.  Think about those young individuals who are dying at an alarming rate because they are told they don’t and will never fit in this world.  Think about those individuals that are constant victims of physical and sexually violence because or society does not and will not learn about lifestyles that challenge our orthodox view of the world.  Think about those individuals who are told by their religious communities that they are not and will never be loved by the God that created them.  Also, think about Leelah Alcorn and why she will never live to see adulthood.  Think about how her parent’s never accepted her, medicated her and sent her to religiously fundamental “repararative therapy,”  to “cure” her. Think about how even in death, they tried to reject her and hide their own shame at having a transgender child.  When you think about all of those things, I don’t see any humor in Bruce Jenner’s transition, I see only bravery and leadership.

“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 fucked up’ and fix it.” – Leelah Alcorn (November 15, 1997 – December 28, 2014)

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