She was only 17 – In memory of Leelah Alcorn

She Was Only 17

A 17 year old girl killed herself
by stepping out in front of a semi truck.
She committed suicide because being transgender
was simply too much to bear.
She told her parents,
but they wouldn’t hear of it
and forced her to continue living as a boy.
Her depression grew and grew.
She thought that she would never
be able to transition
and live life as her true self.

So she stepped out in front of a semi truck.
She was only 17.

My heart grieves for her,
for her parents,
for her family & friends,
for the truck driver.
My heart grieves because
She is not unique.
(41% of trans people have attempted suicide
but only 1.6% of the general population has.)
My heart grieves because I almost became a statistic, too.
I wanted to kill myself.
I wanted the pain
of being a man disguised in a woman’s body
to end.
Luckily, I didn’t have the right pills in my house that night,
or else I could have been her,
and someone else’s heart would be grieving for me.

She was only 17.
Had someone been more supportive
or given her a tiny morsel of hope with which to cling,
She might have lasted a little longer,
been able to move at 18,
and start living life as her true self.
Now people will be haunted,
Wondering, “If only I’d loved her more . . . “
or “Why didn’t I listen to her?”
It is all for naught, though.
She is gone forever.

She was only 17
and is now with our angels
Gwen, Brandon, Tyra,
Betty, CeCe, Brittany, Tiffany,
Angie, Jennifer, Sylvia, Marsha
The names of transgender folks
who have been murdered or committed suicide
is endless and heart breaking.
New names are added with tragic regularity.

She was only 17.
My heart is broken.
How can I prevent this from happening again?
I know that it’s not possible,
but if we all work on accepting each other
as we truly are,
Maybe we’ll be able to help those who feel helpless,
and few people will be compelled to take their own lives.
It’s all I can do.
My heart is broken.
She was only 17.

by Aran J. Reinhart, December 30, 2014


About Aran Reinhart
Aran is a Quaker transguy from rural Seneca County.  He is a poet who often writes about being trans and has been published in Friends Journal.  He is a facilitator for the Toledo Area Trans Support group (TATS) and is very active in Quaker & trans spaces.  He wants to be a bridge to bring diverse people together and wants to reach out to LGBTQ folks in rural areas who may feel isolated. Aran also serves on the Board of Directors of TransOhio.