Just before the New Year, a transgender teenager name Josh “Leelah” Alcorn took his own life (see report above). In his suicide note, he said that he was despairing over the deep conflict he felt about being transgender. He also indicated that his parents were Christians and had taken him to Christian counselors for help. Here’s an excerpt from the child’s suicide note, which was posted online:
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.
My mom started taking me to a therapist, but would only take me to Christian therapists, (who were all very biased) so I never actually got the therapy I needed to cure me of my depression. I only got more Christians telling me that I was selfish and wrong and that I should look to God for help.
The response to this news has been sad and predictable. Many who argue for transgender “equality” are blaming the teen’s parents and Christianity. In fact, the funeral had to be moved to a private location because of threats that the parents were receiving.
Activist Dan Savage has been calling for “Leelah’s” parents to be prosecuted and for the state to take their other children away from them. Savage says that the state should be harsh and make an example of the parents. Why? Because he views taking the child to Christian counseling as child abuse, manslaughter, and reckless endangerment. This is not a joke. This is really what he believes.
No matter how vitriolic the attacks against Christianity may become, we have to resist the temptation to respond in kind. The fact is that a precious child created in the image of almighty God has taken his own life. There are grieving parents and siblings. I can only imagine the sadness they must be going through–now compounded by the vicious attacks of strangers. I really don’t know anything about this family, but I can imagine that they need our prayers.
A few quick items that I would draw your attention to as you think about all of this:
• You are going to hear some people claim that transgender feelings in children are fixed and immutable. What you likely won’t hear is that about 70%-80% of children who report having transgender feelings eventually grow out of them (read about it here).
• Garrett Kell has written an extremely helpful pastoral word in light of Alcorn’s death: “What Would Jesus Say to Someone Like Leelah Alcorn?” His main points are these:
1. Jesus would say… “You are made in My Image, and I love you.”
2. Jesus would say… “You are broken, just like everyone else.”
3. Jesus would say… “You have a unique struggle, and I will use it.”
4. Jesus would say… “I came to rescue people like you, so trust in Me.”
5. Jesus would say… “The journey is hard, but it is worth it and I will help you.”
6. Jesus would say… “Your parents aren’t perfect, but they love you.”
7. Jesus would say… “Go to my people, they will walk with you in grace and truth.”
8. Jesus would say… “Don’t give up on life, I make life worth living.”
• Last summer, I wrote a post suggesting “10 ways to love your transgender neighbor.” You can read it here.