Transgender teen Leelah Alcorn, who was born male and given the name of Josh, took her life on Sunday. Since then, people throughout the country have been reacting to Leelah's death with divergent opinions after hearing her mother speak out about the family's circumstances.
"We don't support that, religiously," Carla Alcorn told CNN on Wednesday. "But we told him that we loved him unconditionally. We loved him no matter what. I loved my son. People need to know that I loved him. He was a good kid, a good boy."
But Leelah felt differently and left behind a note stating how she felt trapped inside a boy's body … that things would never change despite being sent to Christian therapists and being cut off from her classmates and peers.
"When I was 14, I learned what transgender meant and cried of happiness. After 10 years of confusion I finally understood who I was," Leelah wrote in the suicide note. "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. 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. They wanted me to be their perfect little straight Christian boy, and that's obviously not what I wanted."
Early Sunday morning, Leelah went for a walk along Interstate 71 and then reportedly threw herself in front of a tractor-trailer. The Ohio state police are investigating the incident as a suicide, but Alcorn took to Facebook to state that her son "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 thoughts."
Numerous celebrities and public figures have taken up Leelah's cause and the cause of transgender people across the country, going so far as to call for President Barack Obama to "immediately seek a pathway for banning the practice known as transgender conversion therapy. So many people have reacted in support of Leelah that her parents are afraid to announce funeral plans due to threats of protests, or worse.
In the note, Leelah also addressed the faith of her parents and society as a whole in the note.
"Even if you are Christian or are against transgender people don't ever say that to someone, especially your kid," Leelah wrote. "That won't do anything but make them hate self. That's exactly what it did to me. The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren't treated the way I was, they're treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights. My death needs to mean something. My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who commit suicide this year. Fix society. Please."