Press

(San Francisco, CA, January 2, 2015)—Vigils will be held in Ohio tomorrow to remember 17-year-old Leelah Alcorn and to raise support and acceptance for transgender youth.

Alcorn, from the Cincinnati suburb of Kings Mills, took her own life early Sunday morning after facing years of rejection and enduring the dangerous practice known as conversion therapy.

“We are deeply saddened by Leelah’s tragic death,” said National Center for Lesbian Rights Youth Policy Director Shannan Wilber, Esq. “Like countless LGBTQ youth across this country, Leelah struggled with the anguish and isolation of navigating a world in which her core identity was erased and rejected. Despite the gains we have achieved in securing the equal rights of LGBTQ people in many arenas, too many of our children continue to suffer the ravages of intolerance and bigotry. They are rejected at home, bullied at school, and condemned at church. They are subjected to discredited and dangerous interventions designed to change their core identities. They are abandoned by the institutions charged with ensuring their safety and well-being. It is impossible to make sense of the senseless loss of a child. But this tragedy strengthens our resolve to create a world in which all children are cherished and supported to become their authentic selves.”

NCLR started its Youth Project more than two decades ago to ensure the safety and well-being of LGBTQ youth at home, in school, and in public systems of care through litigation, policy advocacy, and systemic reform. The project prioritizes full integration and affirmation of transgender youth, fair and equal treatment of LGBTQ youth in out-of-home care, and ending conversion therapy through NCLR’s #BornPerfect campaign.

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