Suicide note gathers LGBT community for panel

By Tabassum Ali

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A month and a half after Leelah Alcorn committed suicide, UK will hold a panel discussion on the continuing issues surrounding the transgender community.

On Dec. 28, Alcorn, 17, was hit by a tractor-trailer on Interstate 71 in Ohio, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.

According to CNN, Alcorn, born Josh Alcorn, posted a suicide note to her Tumblr blog, which resonated throughout the LGBT+ community. She indicated that her parents had, instead of supporting her transition, sent her to speak to Christian counselors who reinforced the idea that being transgender was not natural or right.

“The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren’t treated the way I was, they’re treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights,” the blog post read. “My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who commit suicide this year … Fix society. Please.”

The panel will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday in Memorial Hall.

Michael Frazier, the chairman of UK’s OUTSource, said that university president Eli Capilouto will support the LGBT+ community at the event.

“This is just the beginning, but it cannot be the end,” Frazier said.

Tuesday Meadows, a member of the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization board, said that transgender issues are a “societal” problem that goes beyond religious or parental issues.

Meadows referenced Kentucky Senate Bill 76, which, if it is passed, will state that only biological sex will determine whether a person is able to use showers, locker rooms or restrooms for males or females.

The bill currently states that students who encounter a student of the opposite biological sex in those areas may be entitled to $2,500 in reparations from the school.

“We tell people it’ll get better, but are we really doing anything to make it (so)?” Meadows said. “If not … they’re just empty words.”

Frazier said the panel will be a historical event, the first of its kind held in this region.

UK OUTSource, UK GSA, UK Shades of Pride and the Violence Intervention Center are in partnership with GSLO, Lexington Fairness, Lexington GSA and TransKY to hold this event.

It is the first time in 35 years that all of these organizations are coming together.

“Her story hits home in the community around us,” Frazier said. “Her death needs to mean something and part of fixing society is doing this.”