A vigil was held in Trafalgar Square for transgender teen Leelah Alcorn, who took her own life last week.
The 17-year-old from Ohio scheduled a heartbreaking post on the platform, citing her parent’s refusal to accept her trans status, and calling for better education and awareness, before taking her own life by stepping in front of a truck.
Despite the death, her mother Carla Alcorn continues to refuse to use female pronouns, saying: “We don’t support that”.
Members and allies of the transgender community held a vigil in Trafalgar Square, London on Saturday afternoon, in memory of the teen.
The crowd lit candles to honour the teen, and a moment of silence was held, as others gave speeches.
Speaking to the crowd, former Lib Dem councillor Sarah Brown said: “These [conversion therapists] are killing our young people through their fraudulence, their negligence, their incompetence. The lawmakers and regulators who should be stopping them are not. Leelah’s dying wish was that we work to make these things better.
“A good start would be to stop frauds and charlatans from pushing trans people into suicide through fraudulent, negligent and incompetent therapy that is worse than useless, and if they do, to ensure that they face justice for it.
“I, for one, intend to make our lawmakers try.”
Novelist and poet Roz Kaveney read a poem in memorial of Leelah:
Silenced she silence chose. She never heard
A loving voice call her by her true name.
Silent she spoke for all who felt the same
And did not could not speak. Hers was the word
that echoed voiceless, screamed repeated pain
they had not let her speak. Locked her away
from face and voice and self she tried to say.
Breathless she said. A dull thud yet again
breaks in our heart. But not the same this time.
She left her words as will and witness. Chose
to end, but not to let the grave enclose
her testament. I put it in a rhyme.
Leelah is dead. Her voice is not yet passed.
She speaks that of such deaths hers might be last.
A number of other people spoke at the event – including writer and journalist Jane Fae, and a representative from the London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard.
(Photo credit: Zoe O’Connell. Twitter @ZoeImogen)
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