Ohio: 17 Year Old Transgender Teenager Commits Suicide, Leaves Heartbreaking Suicide Note

Very sad to read the story of Leelah Alcorn, a 17 year old transgender teenager who committed suicide this past Sunday morning by walking in front of a tractor trailer on the highway.

Leelah struggled with her parents reaction to her coming to the realization that she was trans.

From her suicide note which appeared on her Tumblr account hours after she died:

If you are reading this, it means that I have committed suicide and obviously failed to delete this post from my queue.

Please don’t be sad, it’s for the better. The life I would’ve lived isn’t worth living in… because I’m transgender. I could go into detail explaining why I feel that way, but this note is probably going to be lengthy enough as it is. To put it simply, I feel like a girl trapped in a boy’s body, and I’ve felt that way ever since I was 4. I never knew there was a word for that feeling, nor was it possible for a boy to become a girl, so I never told anyone and I just continued to do traditionally “boyish” things to try to fit in.

When I was 14, I learned what transgender meant and cried of happiness. After 10 years of confusion I finally understood who I was. I immediately told my mom, and she reacted extremely negatively, telling me that it was a phase, that I would never truly be a girl, that God doesn’t make mistakes, that I am wrong. If you are reading this, parents, please don’t tell this to your kids. Even if you are Christian or are against transgender people don’t ever say that to someone, especially your kid. That won’t do anything but make them hate them self. That’s exactly what it did to me.

[snip]

My death needs to mean something. My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who commit suicide this year. I want someone to look at that number and say “that’s fucked up” and fix it. Fix society. Please.

Goodbye,

(Leelah) Josh Alcorn

In a follow-up post, Leelah apologized to friends and family but had this to say her parents:

Mom and Dad: Fuck you. You can’t just control other people like that. That’s messed up.

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or depression there are resources for help:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

Billy Crystal’s moving tribute to Robin Williams at the 2014 Emmy Awards

Billy Crystal’s touching tribute to the late Robin Williams at the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards was easily one of the highlights of the broadcast.

Just a bit from Crystal’s personal memorial:

“The brilliance was astounding. He was the greatest friend you could ever imagine.”

“It’s very hard to talk about him in the past, because he was so present in our lives.”

“He was the brightest star in the comedy galaxy.”

“Robin Williams, what a concept.”

Robin Williams “suicide video” turns out to be Facebook scam

Have you seen this post on Facebook?

Clicking on the link takes you to a page where you are required to “Share” the link and also fill out a survey.

Turns out the whole thing was a scam. From Yahoo Tech:

Filling out this survey generates revenue for the scammers, and in the end you won’t see any kind of video for your trouble. The morbidity of listening to a depressed man’s private last words aside, there is no evidence that such a video exists at all.

Nevertheless, it appears the video has already been shared more than 24 million times on Facebook at the time of publishing.

The fake Robin Williams video is just another example of “social engineering,” the technical term for manipulating people into clicking malicious links. Spam like this always accompanies major news items, playing with people’s fear, interest, and morbid curiosity to generate quick cash.

“The scammers have no qualms about exploiting the death of a famous actor and comedian to earn their cash, and give no thought whatsoever to the distressed family he must have left behind,” writes security expert and blogger Graham Cluley, who identified the scam on the We Live Security blog by security company ESET.

However, it appears that one of the final videos Williams shot was for 21 year old Vivian Waller of Auckland, New Zealand, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer in January.

Meeting Williams was on her ‘bucket list’ of things to do before dying.

Wentworth Miller talks of suicide attempts and coming out in Hollywood

Wentworth Miller spoke of suicide attempts due to angst about not being able to keep the secret that he was gay at the Human Rights Campaign Dinner in Seattle Saturday night.  Wentworth shared that his first suicide attempt was when he was 15:

“The first time I tried to kill myself, I was 15,” the 41-year-old Prison Break actor said. “I waited until my family went away for the weekend. I was alone and I swallowed a bottle of pills. I don’t remember what happened over the next couple of days, but I’m pretty sure come Monday, I was on the bus back to school pretending everything was fine.

“When someone asks me if that was a cry for help, I say no. Because I’ve told no one. You only cry for help if you believe there is help to calm you. And I didn’t need it, I wanted out… at 15,” he added.

Wentworth also talked about the torture of working in Hollywood as a closeted actor … explaining he wanted to be the role model he never had … “to be the someone else, that no one was to me.”

(source)

New Mexico seventeen year old commits suicide after years of being bullied

I want to write about this loss, but I’ve taken my fingers off the keyboard five times now. Something in me really doesn’t want to address this, as if by not writing about it maybe it won’t be true.

Carlos Vigil, 17, of Albuquerque, New Mexico was an anti-bullying advocate, but over the weekend he took his own life — the apparent victim of what he fought against.

Bullied much of his life, his parents only found out about three years ago the extent of how much and often the bullying at school occurred.

From Queerty:

As a member of Youth and Government, Carlos pushed for stronger anti-bullying laws. Before Carlos published his suicide note, his friends said he had just returned from a trip out-of-state where he had spoken out against bullying.

“Words can really hurt and I think Carlos…he couldn’t do it anymore,” said Patricia Valles, one of dozens of Carlos’ classmates who showed up to the hospital Monday where he was on life support.

Meanwhile, Carlos’ peers have held fundraisers to help his family and have been inspired in the face of tragedy. “Even though now Carlos is gone, we need to focus on what he left trying to say,” said former classmate Alyssa Cisneros, “that bullying is a problem.”

The suicide note Carlos left behind for the world to see on Twitter is posted below.  I’m posting it because Carlos shared it on his Twitter account, so he made a decision he wanted people to see it.  AND I think it’s powerful in how it demonstrates the frame of mind kids find themselves after years of being bullied.  Maybe actually seeing where kids are in their heads in such dark times will help some to understand how real this problem is.

RIP Carlos Vigil.

"I'm sorry to those I offended over the years. I'm blind to see that I, as a human being, suck. I'm an individual who is doing an injustice to the world and it's time for me to leave," reads the note. "The kids in school are right, I am a loser, a freak, and a fag and in no way is that acceptable for people to deal with. I'm sorry for not being a person that would make people proud."

“I feel no more pain” – A Soldier’s Last Words

We have to do better for our veterans. The debt can never be repaid, but we as a country can sure try harder.

Daniel Somers is just one example.

Daniel Somers was a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He performed in hundred of intelligence missions over several years in the middle east.

Daniel suffered greatly from PTSD and had been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and several other war-related conditions.

On June 10, 2013, Daniel wrote the following letter to his family before taking his life. His wife and family have given permission to publish it.

Daniel was 30 years old.

I am sorry that it has come to this.

The fact is, for as long as I can remember my motivation for getting up every day has been so that you would not have to bury me. As things have continued to get worse, it has become clear that this alone is not a sufficient reason to carry on. The fact is, I am not getting better, I am not going to get better, and I will most certainly deteriorate further as time goes on. From a logical standpoint, it is better to simply end things quickly and let any repercussions from that play out in the short term than to drag things out into the long term.

You will perhaps be sad for a time, but over time you will forget and begin to carry on. Far better that than to inflict my growing misery upon you for years and decades to come, dragging you down with me. It is because I love you that I can not do this to you. You will come to see that it is a far better thing as one day after another passes during which you do not have to worry about me or even give me a second thought. You will find that your world is better without me in it.

I really have been trying to hang on, for more than a decade now. Each day has been a testament to the extent to which I cared, suffering unspeakable horror as quietly as possible so that you could feel as though I was still here for you. In truth, I was nothing more than a prop, filling space so that my absence would not be noted. In truth, I have already been absent for a long, long time.

My body has become nothing but a cage, a source of pain and constant problems. The illness I have has caused me pain that not even the strongest medicines could dull, and there is no cure. All day, every day a screaming agony in every nerve ending in my body. It is nothing short of torture. My mind is a wasteland, filled with visions of incredible horror, unceasing depression, and crippling anxiety, even with all of the medications the doctors dare give. Simple things that everyone else takes for granted are nearly impossible for me. I can not laugh or cry. I can barely leave the house. I derive no pleasure from any activity. Everything simply comes down to passing time until I can sleep again. Now, to sleep forever seems to be the most merciful thing.

You must not blame yourself. The simple truth is this: During my first deployment, I was made to participate in things, the enormity of which is hard to describe. War crimes, crimes against humanity. Though I did not participate willingly, and made what I thought was my best effort to stop these events, there are some things that a person simply can not come back from. I take some pride in that, actually, as to move on in life after being part of such a thing would be the mark of a sociopath in my mind. These things go far beyond what most are even aware of.

To force me to do these things and then participate in the ensuing coverup is more than any government has the right to demand. Then, the same government has turned around and abandoned me. They offer no help, and actively block the pursuit of gaining outside help via their corrupt agents at the DEA. Any blame rests with them.

Beyond that, there are the host of physical illnesses that have struck me down again and again, for which they also offer no help. There might be some progress by now if they had not spent nearly twenty years denying the illness that I and so many others were exposed to. Further complicating matters is the repeated and severe brain injuries to which I was subjected, which they also seem to be expending no effort into understanding. What is known is that each of these should have been cause enough for immediate medical attention, which was not rendered.

Lastly, the DEA enters the picture again as they have now managed to create such a culture of fear in the medical community that doctors are too scared to even take the necessary steps to control the symptoms. All under the guise of a completely manufactured “overprescribing epidemic,” which stands in stark relief to all of the legitimate research, which shows the opposite to be true. Perhaps, with the right medication at the right doses, I could have bought a couple of decent years, but even that is too much to ask from a regime built upon the idea that suffering is noble and relief is just for the weak.

However, when the challenges facing a person are already so great that all but the weakest would give up, these extra factors are enough to push a person over the edge.

Is it any wonder then that the latest figures show 22 veterans killing themselves each day? That is more veterans than children killed at Sandy Hook, every single day. Where are the huge policy initiatives? Why isn’t the president standing with those families at the state of the union? Perhaps because we were not killed by a single lunatic, but rather by his own system of dehumanization, neglect, and indifference.

It leaves us to where all we have to look forward to is constant pain, misery, poverty, and dishonor. I assure you that, when the numbers do finally drop, it will merely be because those who were pushed the farthest are all already dead.

And for what? Bush’s religious lunacy? Cheney’s ever growing fortune and that of his corporate friends? Is this what we destroy lives for

Since then, I have tried everything to fill the void. I tried to move into a position of greater power and influence to try and right some of the wrongs. I deployed again, where I put a huge emphasis on saving lives. The fact of the matter, though, is that any new lives saved do not replace those who were murdered. It is an exercise in futility.

Then, I pursued replacing destruction with creation. For a time this provided a distraction, but it could not last. The fact is that any kind of ordinary life is an insult to those who died at my hand. How can I possibly go around like everyone else while the widows and orphans I created continue to struggle? If they could see me sitting here in suburbia, in my comfortable home working on some music project they would be outraged, and rightfully so.

I thought perhaps I could make some headway with this film project, maybe even directly appealing to those I had wronged and exposing a greater truth, but that is also now being taken away from me. I fear that, just as with everything else that requires the involvement of people who can not understand by virtue of never having been there, it is going to fall apart as careers get in the way.

The last thought that has occurred to me is one of some kind of final mission. It is true that I have found that I am capable of finding some kind of reprieve by doing things that are worthwhile on the scale of life and death. While it is a nice thought to consider doing some good with my skills, experience, and killer instinct, the truth is that it isn’t realistic. First, there are the logistics of financing and equipping my own operation, then there is the near certainty of a grisly death, international incidents, and being branded a terrorist in the media that would follow. What is really stopping me, though, is that I simply am too sick to be effective in the field anymore. That, too, has been taken from me.

Thus, I am left with basically nothing. Too trapped in a war to be at peace, too damaged to be at war. Abandoned by those who would take the easy route, and a liability to those who stick it out—and thus deserve better. So you see, not only am I better off dead, but the world is better without me in it

This is what brought me to my actual final mission. Not suicide, but a mercy killing. I know how to kill, and I know how to do it so that there is no pain whatsoever. It was quick, and I did not suffer. And above all, now I am free. I feel no more pain. I have no more nightmares or flashbacks or hallucinations. I am no longer constantly depressed or afraid or worried

I am free.

I ask that you be happy for me for that. It is perhaps the best break I could have hoped for. Please accept this and be glad for me.

Daniel Somers

(via Gawker)

France: Anti-gay activist commits suicide at the alter of Notre Dame

In an apparent protest of France’s recently passed marriage equality law, an anti-gay activist shot himself in the head today after placing a letter on the altar of Paris’ famed Notre Dame Cathedral.

From the Daily Mail:

Dominique Venner, who had recently been campaigning against gay marriage in France, is said to have calmly walked past the crowds milling around the 850-year-old Cathedral, one of the most popular tourist sites in the world, before taking out a Herstal automatic pistol.

The 78-year-old put the gun in his mouth and fired before collapsing on to the altar, according to French media reports.

The Cathedral was full of visitors when the horrific incident took place, at around 4pm.

My small understanding of the relationship of religion and suicide is that it is considered a mortal sin.

So, not to be unkind, but this man would rather commit a mortal sin and burn in hell forever than live with the fact that people who love one another can marry?

Wow – he really showed us, didn’t he?

I am sad that so much hate can be whipped up in the world that would lead someone to this end.

Kickstarter: Accidental Bear Queer Music Benefit Tour

My buddy Mike Enders over at Accidental Bear is raising funds for a summer music tour featuring LGBTQ acts.

Money raised from the tour will go to help raise awareness about suicide in the LGBTQ community. But Mike puts it much better than I. Watch the video above and please consider donating.

From the Kickstarter page: Queer Music Benefit Summer Tour 2013 will be unlike anything happening right now and so important. Suicide rates among LGBTQ people are a much higher than straight folks. Let’s together detach the stigma attached to Mental Health Issues and talk about it. This is our chance to make a difference! No more sitting on the side line and waiting for some else to do it. This is our time!

The importance of funding the Tour:

When this kickstarter is funded it will make it possible for the show to go on and we’ll be able to make money to help out all of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters! All proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to organizations listed below as well as sponsor donations. This is our chance to show how much we care!

Benefitting from the summer tour:

LA: Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center / Mental Health Services
SF: The Stonewall Project
Portland, OR: Q Center
Seattle, WA:  Pride Foundation
NYC: Ali Forney Center (AFC)

Click here to donate.

LGB teen suicide rates increase in conservative environments

A study published today in Pediatrics reveals that lesbian, gay, and bisexual teens are more likely to attempt suicide when they live in a community that is less supportive of their identities. A more supportive social environment was significantly associated with fewer suicide attempts. LGB youth were significantly more likely to attempt suicide in the previous 12 months, compared with heterosexuals (21.5% vs 4.2%).

It’s documented fact that LGB youth already attempt suicide at higher rates than their heterosexual peers, but the rates are even higher when there is less visibility of same-sex couples, a higher proportion of registered Republicans/conservatives, and fewer school gay-straight alliances and nondiscrimination policies:

Gay, lesbian and bisexual teens living in counties with the lowest social index scores were 20 percent more likely to have attempted suicide than gays in counties with the highest index scores. Overall, about 25 percent of gay teens in low-scoring counties had attempted suicide, versus 20 percent of gay teens in high-scoring counties.

Strikingly, the study also found that heterosexual youth were more likely (9%) to attempt suicide in the less supportive environment, demonstrating the importance of LGBT education for all young people. Moreover, the data demonstrate that it is environmental factors that contribute to the increased rates, not the individuals’ actual identities.

This is not the first study to show such results in terms of environment and disapproval. A 2009 study by the Family Acceptance Project showed that LGB young adults were 8.4 times more likely to attempt suicide if they were rejected by their family. A 2004 National Research Council study found that rates of suicide completion are much higher in rural areas.