Reprinted with permission
Dear Mr and Mrs Alcorn,
First of all let me extend my condolences on the death of your daughter Leelah on December 28 2014. I do so as a parent who could not even begin to comprehend the pain of losing one of her children
I am, as your daughter was a transgender woman, and I would ask that you believe me when I tell you that it can be and most certainly is at times a living hell. A hell made not by any vengeful deity, but rather a hell made by other human beings, who, like yourselves prefer to torture others by your words and actions.
You may cling to the notion that Leelah was actually a confused boy you named Joshua at birth, but in reality she was your daughter.
Your daughter Leelah
Difficult as that concept may be for you to grasp, she deserved better from you as her parents. She deserved your unconditional love and support, not love and support conditional on your view of the ordered world; Not conditional on your religious beliefs; Conditional only on the fact that she was your child, a child who craved only your love and acceptance.
Both of you let her down badly.
Many people are calling for you to be prosecuted on the basis that it was your actions which led to your beautiful daughter being made to feel so worthless, so absolutely desolate, that she decided to end her own life. Can you imagine the fear and sadness she experienced in those last moments of her young life?
A life so needlessly ended.
However personally I do not believe you should be prosecuted, and let me tell you why. It is not from any position of sympathy for you, because beyond the common decency of feeling for your loss, I have none. Rather I think about Leelah. My heart breaks for her, and I feel her loss intensely, as do many others throughout the world who did not have the privilege of knowing her in person. Beyond that any prosecution would turn into a media circus which would distract attention from the greater tragedy of Leelah’s death.
Having said that don’t get the impression that you have a get out of jail free card , because believe me you do not. Both of you are responsible for your daughter’s death as if you had physically pushed her under that truck because you may as well have by your despicable treatment of her.
Leelah was your child. She should have been able to count on your unconditional love and support, but she couldn’t. Instead you demeaned her at every chance. You abused her in the worst way possible. You destroyed her fragile spirit, and for what? So you could stand up and tell everyone how much you believed in your god. How good you were. How much you loved your child.
Had you really loved her, you would not have contributed to her death. She is beyond you now. You cannot hurt her any more and that is the only consolation in all of this.
Neither of you realise the gift that you were given in Leelah and you let that gift slip through your fingers. That is the tragedy that you now have to live with for the rest of your lives.