Leelah I am sorry..

As I was looking through my throwback photos on Facebook I happened across a photo I had taken shortly before I began my official transition and ultimately decided to strip away my non-binary identity and admit that I was female. It had a picture of me holding up my index and middle finger with my thumb extended to make an “L”. This hand signal which I first saw on one of the many trans bloggers I followed was a symbol of solidarity with passing Leelah’s Law, a law that would end lgbtq+ conversion therapy in minors. Seeing this made me think about the actual progress the trans community has made over all in the past year or so since the young lady took her life and her last request to fix our society.

Sadly there has been very little changes in our societies views towards the transgender community. On top of this there has been a lot of push back against our movement by right wing fear mongers who ignorantly have tried to limit our rights further. The Gender Expression Non-Discriminatory ACT or GENDA had made little head way into becoming law in our nation. Even with the increase in visibility of our community in the media with people like Lavern Cox and Jaz Jennings as well as (inner shudder)  Caitlyn Jenner, lawmakers continue to try and limit our rights. They have tried to limit our right to use the appropriate bathroom in public spaces, pushes against nondiscrimination laws and going as far as to compare us to rapists and pedophiles.

More action is needed to help protect our young people. Our lgbtq youth are the highest demographic for childhood homelessness and abandonment. Trans people, pushed by the prejudices of our society have the highest suicide among the lgbt population, a population that has a higher suicide rate than the cis heterosexual population. This rate is higher for people who are not white.
So many causes have symbols that have resonated and caught public attention. So many events have pushed movements to begin accelerating and speaking louder. How much more tragedy do we need to face as a community before we get truly loud, before we raise the blue white and pink flag high and say enough is enough. How many more trans woman of color have to be brutally murdered before we scream to the annals of history and declare that not one more life will be taken without every person in America knowing her name?! How many more of our community must be pushed to self harm or drugs before we get mad enough to truly do something?! I say not one more. Not one more trans kid not one more transgender life!

I feel as a fledgling activist and as a trans woman that I owe Leelah an apology. We have not done enough to fix this society. More trans people died in 2015 to murder and suicide than in 2014 the year Leelah stepped in front of that truck. Our laws and protections are no better now than they were a year ago and in some cases have moved further in the wrong direction. I feel compelled to scream out and cry so that the world hears the truth. Fixing society is a long road and it can get a lot worse if we do not take a stand. We must become active. Donate to trans charities, join together and organize, become active in our political system, whatever it takes we must not let society push us in front of any more trucks as Leelah was pushed in front of the truck that killed her.

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Melody Lewis