Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 31/12/2014 (2734 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A Winnipeg high school’s LGBT group is planning a vigil for a transgender teen who died early Sunday in what police in Ohio are investigating as a suicide.
Harmony Light, a student at Kelvin High School, is organizing the vigil in honour of Leelah Alcorn, 17, who died after being struck by a tractor-trailer northeast of Cincinnati.
The vigil, to be held on Friday at 4 p.m. at the corner of River Avenue and Osborne Street, looks to bring to light the issue of transphobia.
"We want to mourn the loss of Leelah and raise awareness of other transgender individuals who are going through the same struggle," Light said by telephone.
Leelah, born Josh Alcorn, was killed four miles from her home in King Mills, OH, along Interstate 71.
Alcorn left a suicide note on her Tumblr page. Her death has sparked international interest, many taking to Twitter using the #LeelahAlcorn hashtag to voice displeasure with what they see as injustice facing those who identify as transgender.
"My death needs to mean something," Alcorn’s note read. "My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who commit suicide this year."
Light, along with others from her group, is setting out to fulfill Alcorn’s final wishes.
"We need to demand a change in society," said Light, recalling that she’s watched friends being ridiculed and bullied and forced to switch schools.
Alcorn’s final words in her suicide note read: "Fix society. Please. Goodbye."
"It’s unfortunate that this had to happen, that Leelah’s only choice to bring awareness was to take her own life," Light said. "Hopefully through her death, we can bring to life the reality of transphobia and enlighten others and ultimately put and end to it."
Alcorn blamed her parents in her suicide letter, noting that they never supported her in her decision.
"It seems that they would rather have a dead son than a living daughter," Light said. "It’s heartbreaking to see a life that was not taken seriously and a love that was not unconditional."
Light has set up a Facebook page, Leelah Alcorn, Winnipeg Vigil, with more information.
"Leelah’s story is only one of thousands that youth still continue to face today," reads a post on the Facebook group’s page. Without a demand for change, it said, youth suicide rates "will only continue to grow".