A suicide note left behind by a 17-year-old Ohio teen who died last weekend has sparked debate about transgender youth.
Authorities identified the teen as Joshua Alcorn, who preferred to be known as "Leelah." WCPO Cincinnati reported that Joshua/Leelah was walking along the southbound lanes of I-71 when she was struck by a tractor trailer at 2:20 a.m on Sunday.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol have not released an official cause of death, but the teen left what is described as a pre-scheduled suicide note on Leelah's Tumblr account, which appeared after her death. Their investigation is ongoing.
No charges have been filed, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
"The life I would've lived isn't worth living… because I'm transgender," the Tumblr note read.
The post went on to describe Leelah's life and how her conservative Christian mother refused to acknowledge her gender when she told her about her transgender identity.
Leelah urged other parents not to make the same mistake.
"That won't do anything but make them hate themselves. That's exactly what it did to me," Leelah wrote on her Tumblr account.
The post went on to describe Leelah's experience with Christian therapy, stating she never got the help she needed, and recounted her parents taking her out of public school and forbidding her from using social media or contacting friends.
"I've decided I've had enough. I'm never going to transition successfully…I'm never going to be happy with the way I look or sound," the Tumblr post states. "There's no way out. I'm sad enough already, I don't need my life getting worse."
The Tumblr note ended with Leelah saying she wanted her assets to be donated to the transgender civil rights movement and support groups.
Following the post came a second titled, "Sorry," apologizing to important people in Leelah's life. After stifling her wish to transition, Leelah had a message for her parents: "You can't just control other people like that. That's messed up."
According to WCPO Cincinnati, Leelah's mother Carla Alcorn still declines to recognize Leelah's gender in a posting on Facebook.
She said her "son, Joshua Ryan Alcorn went home to heaven this morning," in the post. "He was out for an early morning walk and was hit by a truck."
A petition was started on Dec. 30 directed at Carla, asking for Leelah's preferred name to be put on her headstone in true remembrance.
The petition, on the Change.org website, currently has 22,316 supporters.