Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Transgender Teen's Suicide Note: ‘My death needs to mean something’

The suicide of a transgender teen is catching national attention in part because of a suicide note she left behind online.

Leelah Alcorn, 17, of Kings Mills, Ohio, was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer on I-71 about 2:30 a.m. on Sunday, according to local media
Posthumous posts started to appear on her Tumblr page, titled “Lazer Princess,” including her suicide note  and a post apologizing to her closest friends

“My death needs to mean something,” she wrote. “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 f---ed up’ and fix it. Fix society. Please.”

Alcorn's note explains that she has felt like a girl trapped in a boy’s body ever since she was 4. Then she cried tears of joy when she learned what transgender meant at 14.

“After 10 years of confusion I finally understood who I was,” the suicide note reads. “I immediately told my mom, and she reacted extremely negatively, telling me that it was a phase, that I would never truly be a girl, that God doesn’t make mistakes, that I am wrong.”
After her death, Alcorn’s mother was harshly criticized for referring to her child by her given name — “Joshua Ryan Alcorn” — and using male pronouns.

"My sweet 16 year old son, Joshua Ryan Alcorn went home to heaven this morning. He was out for an early morning walk and was hit by a truck,” the mother wrote.

Alcorn requested that all of her belongings and savings be donated to transgender civil rights movements and support groups.

Many people took to Twitter to mourn her death using #LeelahAlcorn and criticize the continued injustice facing transgender people today.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

NC Teen’s Suicide Sparks Questions of Possible Bullying

A North Carolina teenager who took her own life last Saturday was laid to rest on the day after Christmas.
Amber Cornwell (WLOS-TV via NDN)
WLOS-TV reported that 16-year-old Amber Cornwell’s death has sparked a discussion about bullying in the mountains in Henderson County.
Cornwell’s final Facebook post just before her suicide asked if she died that night, “Would anyone cry?”
Friends and family said they’ll remember Cornwell as a talented girl with a great sense of humor. She was an honor roll student, a tennis player, a dancer and a member of the All County Chorus.
“I’ve been crying for days now,” said long-time friend Sierra Crochet, who’s known her since first grade.
Family and friends said bullying is what drove Amber to take her own life. They hope the discussion about bullying leads to action. They said they wished they knew she was on the brink of suicide.
“They were just calling her names and said she had no future and had nothing going for her,” Crochet told WLOS-TV, referring to the alleged bullies.
A candlelight vigil is planned in her honor at East Henderson High School on Saturday evening.
“She had that sense of humor that could a smile on your face,” said friend Stephanie Hernandez.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Black teen hung from swing set: Suicide or lynching?

I am shocked at this story. This is the 21st century not the 1960's

The black teenager was found in a North Carolina trailer park, hanging from a swing set by a dog leash and a belt that were not his own. His mother said he showed no sign of suicidal thoughts, yet authorities quickly ruled that he had taken his own life.
Now the FBI is reviewing the investigation after Lennon Lacy's relatives and the NAACP raised doubts about the official findings, which the county coroner also questions.
A 911 caller reported spotting the 17-year-old's body Aug. 29 in the small town of Bladenboro, about 100 miles south of Raleigh. His feet were suspended 2 inches off the ground.

The state medical examiner ruled that the boy killed himself, but his mother said she does not believe it.
She last saw the youngest of her four sons alive as the middle linebacker prepared for a high school football game by putting together his uniform in the early hours of the day he died.
His father told him that he needed to get some sleep before the game, his first after his mother made him take a year off from the team to focus on his grades.
"OK, Daddy," he said. They then heard a door close, which was not unusual, Claudia Lacy said, because her son liked to run at night when the air was cool.
About 13 hours later, she identified his body in the back of an ambulance. The swing set was in clear sight of about 10 trailers.
She said she felt let down when investigators ruled it a suicide and brought her concerns to the state chapter of the NAACP, which has organized a march Saturday in Bladenboro.
The march will begin Saturday morning at the First Baptist Church in Bladenboro. The NAACP is reminding participants that the march is supposed to be non-violent.
On Friday, federal officials confirmed they were reviewing the investigation. A spokesman for U.S. Attorney Tom Walker said Walker's office acted at the request of attorneys from the North Carolina NAACP representing the family.
"We don't know what happened that terrible night," said the Rev. William Barber, president of the state NAACP chapter. "It is possible that a 17-year-old excited about life could commit suicide. The family is prepared to accept the truth. They're not prepared to accept this theory that's been posited with a rush to a conclusion of suicide so quickly. We have said there are far too many unanswered questions."
Bladen County District Attorney Jon David said Friday that he also asked the FBI to review the case because the family and the NAACP said they had information that they would provide only to federal authorities. He said he had seen no evidence of foul play.

Not only is the case open, but our minds are open," David said.
In the 911 call, the dispatcher advises the caller to try to get the person down in case he was still alive. When investigators arrived at the trailer park that the NAACP has described as predominantly white, the body was on the ground. Investigators told NAACP attorneys that one shoe was on the body and one was on the ground, said Al McSurely, a lawyer working for the NAACP.
The shoes were 1.5 sizes too small for Lacy and did not belong to him, his family said.
The family also questioned whether authorities took photos at the scene, and if they did, whether those photos were provided to the state medical examiner.
David said Friday that many photos were taken, but the NAACP attorneys said they were not aware of any.
Bladenboro Police Chief Chris Hunt referred all questions to the State Bureau of Investigation, North Carolina's top law enforcement agency. A spokeswoman for the bureau has said agents addressed all viable leads.
Bladen County Coroner Hubert Kinlaw said he signed a death certificate calling the cause of death a suicide because that's how the form came back from the medical examiner. Kinlaw, who went to the scene, said he now wonders whether Lennon really killed himself.
"How did it happen? How did he wind up there?" he said. "These are all questions that are out there."
But the medical examiner, Dr. Deborah Radisch, said in a discussion with a pathologist hired by the NAACP that she based her ruling partially on Kinlaw's conclusion that Lacy killed himself.
And Claudia Lacy inadvertently contributed to the conclusion of suicide. When asked if Lennon had been depressed, she said yes, that his great-uncle had been buried the day before. She said she meant that Lennon was sad, grieving over the loss of a family member, not suicidal.
"Here's a mother who knows at the end of the day she's going to have to accept that either it was a suicide or it was a lynching," Barber said. "And because of the history of the South and the history of this country, in some strange way, she would almost rather it be a suicide."