Accept the “T”s


(photo illustration)

Samantha SImmons, Opinion Editor

Transgender: a person who feels that the body into which they were born does not represent their true gender.

Transgenders, the “T” in LGBTQ (acronyms referring also to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Questioning), have watched their equally targeted counterparts find places amongst society while they remain hidden in the dark. This idea of psychologically and spiritually caused gender inexactitude is relatively new amongst our growing society and transgenders have found it hard to fit into the social “norm.” As for our social norm, we exist in an era where everything’s (but pop culture’s) righteousness is questioned–especially sexual preference.

Right now, cultural acceptance is the elementary school playground and transgender people are the outcasts who are never invited to go play with the other kids. This playground is universal and, along with feeling excluded, transgenders are constantly judged and forced to conform to someone who they are not. They are pressured to fit in with the rest of society–a society that often refuses to accept them as regular people. As transgender people are pushed further and further away, the number of supporters decreases as the suicide numbers increase. Sadly, most transgender suicides are disregarded. However, the 2014 suicide of a teenager from Ohio, Leelah Alcorn, has raised more awareness than transgender people thought possible.

Her mother and father saw a baby boy when she was first placed into their arms and thought “Josh” was the perfect name. Alcorn did not agree. Alcorn was raised in a religiously conservative home, so when her head flooded with ideas of an identity unlike the one she was forced to keep, she started to perceive genders differently than before. She did not have an immediate answer for these changes.

“After ten years of confusion I finally understood who I was,” Alcorn wrote in her suicide note, explaining what it felt like when she discovered the word “transgender.”

That single word defined the source of her confusion, but unfortunately it did not save her from something far worse.

Parents constantly warn us to never talk to strangers on the internet because it could put our safety at risk, but as Alcorn slowly started opening up about who she really was, that assumption proved false. Alcorn found comfort in the walls of the popular social media app tumblr, where people thought Alcorn’s transformation was beautiful; like a butterfly out of a cocoon. Her parents thought differently.

Once her parents became aware of her “coming out,” they confiscated her phone and laptop, pulled her out of school and took her to Christian therapists in hopes of “fixing” her.

“This was probably the part of my life when I was the most depressed and I’m surprised I didn’t kill myself then,” Alcorn said. “I was completely alone for 5 months. No friends, no support, no love. Just my parent’s disappointment and the cruelty of loneliness.”

Her suicide is both a tragedy and a wake up call. There are two things we need to keep in mind here:

  1. Be nice! Gender mis-identification does not change the fact that someone is a human being with feelings.
  2. If you bring a child into the world, the least you can do is love unconditionally.

Love one another and never be afraid to be who you are.