Dan Savage: Leelah Alcorn’s parents should be prosecuted for her suicide

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Gay activist Dan Savage has called for the parents of transgender teenager Leelah Alcorn, who killed herself, should be prosecuted.

Leelah Alcorn, from Ohio, scheduled a heartbreaking post on Tumblr, 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.

She said her Christian parents refused to allow her to self-identify, and told her she was going through “a phase” because “God doesn’t make mistakes”.

Savage took to Twitter to compare Leelah’s suicide to that of 18-year-old Tyler Clementi, who killed himself  by jumping off a bridge in September 2010, just weeks into his first year at university after a gay romantic encounter was filmed and broadcast by his roommate.

Clementi’s roommate Dharun Ravi was convicted in 2012 of invasion of privacy, bias intimidation and other counts and served less than a month in jail. 

Savage tweeted: “If Tyler Clemente’s [sic] roommate could be prosecuted—and he was—then the parents of #LeelahAlcorn can & should be.”

In later messages, he tweeted that an “example needs to be made” of Alcorn’s parents, that there is a difference “between ‘shitty parenting’ and criminally reckless parenting”, and noted the fact that Alcorn has siblings.

He said: “We don’t leave kids in the care of parents who just killed one of their other children.”

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article and need to talk to someone, visit samaritans.org or call 08457 90 90 90.