It’s such an awesome thing; when life has given you a big crap sandwich for a bit, and then you see two people madly in love and you just have to smile and be in awe and think- I remember that. :0 )
In this case, it’s my son, Brian, and his little lady- Mandy Tator Tots:
And then when I was driving home tonight, and saying, “God, I know you have a great plan for me. It’s painful, it’s hard right now. But I know you have my best interest at heart.”
And then I looked up and saw this!
“Yeah. I’ve got you, kid,” He said…and smiled.
Those were the words that were found in Leelah Alcorn’s suicide note that was posted on all of her social media accounts shortly after her death. Leelah chose to commit suicide because she felt that the life she was given to live was too painful to bear. Ultimately, she was not allowed to be who she wanted to be.
Leelah Alcorn was born Joshua Alcorn. She was born into a moderately strict religious home in which the gender you are born with is the gender you are expected to die with. Leelah took a great risk sharing her conflicting feelings with her parents as a young teenager. I too am a Christian and come from a tightly-woven Pentecostal family. In families like ours, “gender reassignment surgery” (or the like) would be asking for a one-way ticket to Exile Island where you would be expected to live out the rest of your days with spiritual leprosy as a complete and utter outcast. Sadly, this is the perspective of many Christians today.
Leelah was hoping to find love and acceptance and most importantly understanding when she told her parents that she’d felt like a girl trapped in a boy’s body since the age of 4. If your own parents can’t accept you for who you are, then who can? She was shocked and heartbroken to be met with resistance, denial, and total rejection. Her parents told her it was “just a stage she was going through” and that “God doesn’t make mistakes”. They immediately banned Leelah from all social media for the next 5 months, taking away her cellphone and laptop. They also deleted her Facebook account and restricted her social activities to church-related group activities mostly, and when Leelah wasn’t being conditioned in such ways, she was restricted to her bedroom. They also forced her into Christian-based “reparative therapy”, which is, in short, a “corrective therapy” for homosexuals and and people who identify as transgender.
I couldn’t imagine, as a Christian, somebody forcing me to go to “transgender therapy” where I would be told that I would have to be made into the opposite sex- including sexual reassignment surgery. I can only imagine how Leelah must have felt: She was made to feel like a leper in her own home, school, community, and church.
Leelah pre-scheduled her suicide note to post to her social media outlets following her death with one final request, “Fix Society. Please.” On the early morning of December 28, 2014, she walked four miles in the cold to interstate 71 and at approximately 2:17 a.m., she stepped out into the highway and into the path of a tractor trailer.
Her family’s rejection of her chosen identity was more than she could bear. It breaks my heart that her mother still lives in denial- still choosing to call her Joshua instead. Even after Leelah’s suicide note had been posted, having begged other parents to never reject their children’s rights- including their right to choose their own gender- her mother posted this message to her Facebook account:
“My sweet 16-year-old son, Joshua Ryan Alcorn, went home to Heaven this morning. He was out for an early morning walk and was hit by a truck. Thank you for the messages and kindness and concern you have sent our way. Please continue to keep us in your prayers.”
They rejected Leelah in life, and they reject her in death. That’s beyond heartbreaking to me.
Jesus’ Words have forever transformed my heart and life. When a group of men had gathered around a woman to stone her (having accused her of adultery)- each having a handful of stones- Jesus looked at them and said, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” (John 8:7)
One by one, they all dropped their stones. Jesus said to the woman, “Go thy way and sin no more.” He forgave her and loved her. Completely. One of my friend’s once said something to me that I’ll never forget. She said, “The sound of forgiveness is the sound of a stone dropping.” I love that. And although Leelah’s life choices weren’t a “sin” to her, the fact remains in many religions, a transgender lifestyle is viewed as sinful. I think we should stop expecting other people to “live up to our expectations” but rather deal with our own insufficiencies and our inabilities to accept his or her alternative lifestyle. After all, our lifestyle is “alternative” in their eyes.
I do not “support” suicide, but I most certainly respect any person willing to die for his or her cause. Leelah didn’t commit suicide because she was “so depressed”. Not really. She committed suicide because she felt that she had a cause worth fighting and dying for. Soldiers do that every day. Who’s to say that any person’s cause is more important than another’s?
So for Leelah, I’ll do what I can so that she didn’t die in vain. As a parent, I’ve let my kids know (and they all know this already) that I will support them always– no matter who they choose to be. True love is all-encompassing and non-conditional. If my children choose different genders, religions, whatever- I will love them just the same. It’s not my “job” as their parent to love them, it’s my privilege. I only wish Leelah would have received the same support from her parents. She may have chosen to stick around…
It saddens me that Leelah’s parents are wanting to put Joshua Alcorn on her tombstone, instead of Leelah Alcorn. I have just gone and signed the online petition so that her parents might honor Leelah and give her her chosen name for her tombstone. Already, there are over 200,000 people who have signed the petition. If you too think that Leelah should have the right to her own name on her tombstone, you can go here and sign the petition. I think it’s what Leelah would have wanted.
To any parents out there who may read this and defiantly cling to your strong Christian roots- I admire you. I cling to mine too! But let’s do what Jesus wants us to do above all else, and that is to love others- just as they are; not who you think they need to be:
“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” 1st John 4: 7-8
” Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1st Corinthians 13: 4-7
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”
If you’d like to support Leelah’s right to have her name on her tombstone, you can sign this petition (and/or reblog this post).
Thanks for viewing! x
I was watching a “controversial sermon” (as the interwebs is calling it) made by the wife of Joel Osteen, Victoria Osteen, on serving God and self. I don’t think this is controversial at all. People are going bananas because Victoria Osteen was preaching and said that when we serve God, we’re really “doing what makes us happy” rather than God. She was endorsing this particular method of serving God and telling the congregation to do just that, because when we make ourselves happy, we make God happy. This shouldn’t be taken out of context! For example, if a person is a kleptomaniac, it’s not going to make God happy if they steal, if stealing makes that person happy, etc.
However, I do think Victoria Osteen is on to something in that when we are playing into our altruistic ways and doing good for others, we are in fact “serving ourselves” in our deeds too. She was merely highlighting this aspect of “self” which can be seen throughout various psychological perspectives, as I’ve learned through my studies. I can’t say I’m in 100% agreement with her, but I can’t dispute her claim altogether either.
But this isn’t the jaw-dropping part. Steve Camp, a pastor and former chart-topper in the Christian music world, said in a Huffington Post clip (at 2:55- 3:28), “Victoria seems like a sweet person but an uninformed person. She can’t be a pastor of a church- there’s no place in the Scripture for a woman to be a co- pastor of anything, and…she needs to be discipled. She seems immature yet very sincere in what she’s claiming.” (http://live.huffingtonpost.com/r/highlight/christians-react-to-victoria-osteens-controversial-sermon/540e11b5fe3444535b0001dc?cn=tbla)
I cannot believe in 2014 that such ignorance is still thriving. How in the world can a person think that God is limited and that He cannot move His Spirit upon a woman if He so chooses? This level of ignorance is shocking. I could pop off a fat handful of Scriptures right now- from memory alone- that proves that God can and indeed does encourage women to preach- and not only encourages them but ordains them.
The very fact that God says that we (both male and female) are created in His image tells a person that God is not just male, but female too.
So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Gen. 1:27)
Here’s something else to consider: There’s a place in the book of Numbers where God sends a prophet, Balaam, to go and speak to the people in a town. The prophet decided to not go and changes his direction. When the donkey he was riding on actually corrected the prophet’s misdirection, the prophet smote the ass, hurting it. This happened three times, causing the donkey to actually speak out- as in- using actual words so that the prophet understood it:
“And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass and she said unto Balaam, ‘What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?”‘ (Num. 22:28)
What does this Scripture tell us?
It tells us that if God can open a donkey’s mouth and cause it to speak, don’t think He can’t open a woman’s mouth and cause her to preach.
And here’s one for the road, which eradicates sexist claims, such as what Mr. Camp offered:
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. (Gal. 3:28)
And here’s another important Scripture to chew on. Deborah, who was a prophetess, judge, and warrior–mentioned in the book of Judges–was chosen to lead Israel out of the hands of their oppressors. The people had prayed for a leader, and they were given Deborah- a woman.
People came and sought advice from her under a palm tree, where she used to sit:
And she dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment. (Judges 4:5)
Barak, a warrior, sought advice from her about going into battle. in so many words, she told him that sure, she would go with him (being a warrior too), but that there would be no glory in it for him and that the Lord would deliver their enemy into the hands of a woman:
“And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the Lord shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh.” (Judges 4:9)
Sexist men, who think a woman must “remain silent in the church”- please- educate yourselves in the Bible before opening your mouths, calling women “immature” and saying that they have no place to preach. Be a disciple yourself and stop limiting God’s strength and power. Does Jesus not say that all things are possible with God?
“But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, ‘With men’ this is impossible but with God, all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)
If you are truly a “believer”, then believe.
Suffering.Pain.Sorrow.Crucifixion.Death.Resurrection.Hope.Love.Light.L I F E
SP/Cross made from popsicle sticks and dental floss
Ohio River/foggy morning/Lensbaby Composer/Double Glass f/4- natural lighting/5.19.13
I awoke this morning to find our home enshrouded in thick fog. How could I not go out and grab a few shots? I drove down to the local marina with a fresh cup of coffee. I have plans today to do one lesson in each course: Public Speaking, Earth Science, and Health Psychology (no small feat), but when I put my mind to something, I don’t let go.
Mornings like these are my favourites: the world is so still- everybody’s sleeping and completely unaware of the fog. For the past several days, I’ve been getting up early and hitting my PC and BS- that’s not short for computer and “BS” – it’s short for “prayer closet and Bible study”. When I start my days with these things and in this order, everything falls into the right places in my day. My mind is renewed, as is my faith, strength, and hope- challenges become “doable” and I have a promise of success already- I just need to do the work.
When I was praying this morning, I felt the Lord wrap his arms around me and give me a big hug. I know that I’m loved, terrifically; I don’t worry about things.
So I’m off to put a huge dent in my schoolwork.
It’s going to be a beautiful day. :0)
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.