Leelah Was Murdered


by Elise Hendrick

When a child dies of a treatable condition because her parents insisted on praying the diseases rather than seeking treatment, would we say that she died of natural causes?

Leelah, the Ohio transgender teen whose suicide note, an outright indictment of the society in which she lived and the parents who were inflicted upon her, was published online earlier this week, asked that her death be included in the trans suicide statistics. Because of the circumstances that led Leelah to end her own life, I think that her death, and many other transgender fatalities that are classified as suicides, belong in another column of the statistics altogether.

Leelah put herself in the path of oncoming traffic in order to bring an end to her life. If we focus on this event, ‘suicide’ does indeed seem an apt characterisation. However, to focus only on the moment of her…

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