Leelah Alcorn's situation wouldn't have gotten better. (Trigger Warning)

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Pikachu
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Leelah Alcorn's situation wouldn't have gotten better. (Trigger Warning)

Post by Pikachu » Mon May 7, 16:17 2018

The money for transition isn't there.
No parental support.
Religious school, so no school support.
Living with parents.
No support from peers.

So with extremely poor mental health, would have to pass highschool with grades good enough to get into a university without the parents sabotaging it at the first sign of gender non conformity, even if she could pass and somehow didn't drop out, would be in debt at the end, would probably have to move back in with parents until a job could be found. Leelah can't take HRT while there's any dependency on the parents cos obviously they'll notice. So under the best scenario she'd have to go through University stresses, leave her family find some shelter or friend to stay with, get a job, start to pay off that debt, self medicate with hormones and T blockers bought online. Probably wouldn't pass as a cis woman, so would likely have to endure riducule, misgendering, a higher risk of violence, and extreme diffculty getting hired for work. All under the weight of crushing dysphora.

Either that or she lives with the shock, keeps it botted up inside silently and goes on presenting as a man.

Leelah posted on reddit looking for support and got the "It gets better" mantra, but I think she knew even then it was just an empty tautology.

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Re: Leelah Alcorn's situation wouldn't have gotten better. (Trigger Warning)

Post by melsbells » Tue May 8, 14:28 2018

I'm inclined to agree with you. But I can't accept that it couldn't have gotten better. I wasn't aware of her death when it happened, but I'm not under the impression that the pervailing thought/reaction was that her assessment of her life and the possibilities of improvement were misjudged. If anything, didn't people become more aware of just how many obstacles are in the way of anyone ever being able to truthfully report "it gets better".

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Re: Leelah Alcorn's situation wouldn't have gotten better. (Trigger Warning)

Post by Bork » Tue May 8, 15:06 2018

This is a good example of why I’m not really into the idea of “it gets better.” People shouldn’t have to wait and continue to suffer because at some point in the unknown future their situation will improve. Things only get better if people actively help make it better.
Bork is too lazy to bother thinking up a witty signature. :polarbear:

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Re: Leelah Alcorn's situation wouldn't have gotten better. (Trigger Warning)

Post by Aum » Wed May 9, 0:46 2018

It gets better for people with privilege, or it starts good in the first place. Everyone else has to struggle to make it better and doesn't always succeed.

I'm not jaded, just being realistic.
The artist's job is not to succumb to despair, but to find an antidote to the emptiness of existence. -W.A.

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Re: Leelah Alcorn's situation wouldn't have gotten better. (Trigger Warning)

Post by Sonic# » Wed May 9, 9:58 2018

It's worth noting that "it gets better" earned these kinds of critiques at the time it went viral in 2010. It was fine - if you were white, male, and well-resourced like Dan Savage:
Jasbir Puar, In the Wake of 'It Gets Better', http://www.northernhighlands.org/cms/lib5/NJ01000179/Centricity/Domain/159/In%20the%20Wake%20of%20It%20Gets%20Better%20by%20Jasbir%20Puar.pdf wrote:Many, however, have been struck with how these deaths have been made to serve the purpose of highlighting an exceptional class of aspirational gay citizens at the expense of others.
I'm trying to understand the allusion to Reddit though. She didn't get that mantra? To Reddit's credit, the top post points out directly that her parents are inflicting mental abuse and that Leelah needs to get out of there. Others recommend sticking it out, but usually that's situated within Leelah's context - minor laws would make leaving complicated. There are no direct mentions of "it gets better"; nor does that seem to be just a "mantra." What I read are several people responding to a fucked up situation to the best of their ability and making some understandable mistakes.

Overall, I'm suspicious of absolutes here. "It gets better" is a message that doesn't work for most people in LGBTQIA+ communities. It denies the precarity of living closeted or out. Yet saying Leelah's situation wouldn't have gotten better (as the topic does) commits a similar error, denying the possibility for some kind of improvement. What does that message use Leelah's death for?

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Re: Leelah Alcorn's situation wouldn't have gotten better. (Trigger Warning)

Post by Pikachu » Sat May 12, 7:00 2018

I thought it was implied that I'm talking about realistic possibilities. One can't deny the possibility altogether of it getting better, if not for the simple fact that Leelah could have played and won the lottery. Or been cast in a movie or had some other great fortune.

But there isn't a plausible way it could have improved.

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