03 January 2015

Give Leelah What She Deserves

The funeral for Leelah Alcorn was moved because of threats to disrupt it.

When I heard about that, I thought that perhaps the Westboro Baptist Church folks and others of their ilk were going to show up with signs reading "God Hates Fags!" or other profundities for which they're known.

Nobody is saying who made the threats or what the "disruptions" would be.  In fact, the first article I read about the change in venue said only that the family received threats, but did not specify that they were threats to "disrupt" the funeral.

This all sounds really fishy to me.  It seems that someone in the news media is upset or scared that we're starting to make some gains in our campaign for equality and that there's been an uproar over the way Leelah's mother reacted to her death.  So that someone--perhaps there's more than one--wants to portray us as a menace that we're not.

If threats were indeed made by our allies, I don't support or condone them.  If anything, they only make us look as if we're stooping to the level of the Westboro people and other haters.  Not only is it bad public relations, it is corrosive to the spirit.  We need all the spirit, all the courage, all of the intelligence, all the creativity, all the compassion we can muster; we can't afford to let the haters take any of it from us. 

I'm not saying we shouldn't be angry with Leelah's mother or do everything we can to convince her to bury her with "Leelah" on the tombstone.  I just think that in order to accomplish that--or to achieve any other victories--we simply must not become like the haters from whom people like Leelah's mother take their cues, however blindly.

I say these things, not only because I am a transsexual woman, but because I have begun, within the past year and a half, to follow the dictates of my faith and become active in a church.  One reason I had denied those things to myself for a long time--even after I realized that my gender transition has been a profoundly spiritual experience--was that people used their religion as a basis for hating and even killing us.  But I have learned that there are many people who don't use their religion in that way, and that I have no choice but to become one of them. Perhaps some of the haters will, too.  Perhaps Mrs. Alcorn will understand this.  I want that even more than I want her to recognizer her daughter as her daughter and bury her with the name she chose to reflect her female spirit.

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