Leelah Alcorn Passing: A Response From Trans Youth Equality Foundation

Trans Youth Equality Foundation youth building community at TYEF camp.

Trans Youth Equality Foundation's Board of Directors had an immediate response on Facebook and Twitter to the passing of Leelah Alcorn. Like many others in the trans advocacy community, we are devastated. We have experienced similar loss among our youth.... Most parents of trans youth fear this kind of tragedy as the numbers of trans youth who express suicidality, and even take their lives, is high. We like to note that many of these same youth have moved away from this painful experience after parents, schools and doctors helped to show them proper support and unconditional love and acceptance. We have many stories of youth who have felt this desire is in their past. Many of them credit their relationship with TYEF as a critical component getting past these feelings. That is why we do the work we do.

This second formal response is different. We logged over 30 phone calls per day from youth and parents since this tragic loss. We averaged an overwhelming 50 plus emails per day, and of course much reach out on our social networks. We returned contact to our youth first and the board and volunteers have been fantastic and dedicated to reaching out to the best of our ability with a response that is helpful and caring. We all know that Leelah's passing has gotten a great deal of media attention and has been overwhelming for many. 

As we read through the comments, we saw that so many people were triggered, saddened, feeling frustrated and helpless or galvanized to do more for trans youth. We noticed one thing often lacking. And that is  the missed opportunity to remind youth to reach out to trans specific organizations for advocacy, connection and resources. There has been reminders to youth in crisis to contact Trevor Helpline or a local crisis center. Now lets all make a special effort to forward these youth and their parents onto organizations that have special ability to help them in general. These organizations, like ours, can help youth build community, get the resources they need and prevent isolation and depression. Reaching out, meeting other trans youth, this is life saving for many. 

TYEF is asking each trans specific organization to also spread the word and upload information about other organizations so we can all have excellent regional and national reach. There are kids and parents that still do not know where to turn.  Some LGBT organizations are amazing at offering trans resources and some have limited resources to share. We encourage everyone to find a local trans specific or LGBT organization for support. But when you can not find one, as many in underserved areas can not, please reach out to one of the few national or active regional organizations for support. Tell a youth you know, spread the word to school counselors, providers, pediatricians, parents and youth. This is the time to share the contact information of trans youth specific organizations to your social media networks and your trans friends and youth. This is the time for every trans specific organization to rally and support each other.  If as an organization, you have not listed the organizations below, please do it now. Let's unify so that any child or parent who contacts you can be aware of all available resources, no matter where they live.

Listed below are the organizations we know about with some national reach and strong resources, Send these out to your networks. In addition, please add to this list any regional support you know of as well. Also, to each organization listed here, please take the time, to add TYEF and others to your resources page on the web and do extra shout outs about us all to honor Leelah and all trans youth. Let's collectively get the word out now. Thank you.

Trans Youth Equality Foundation: A National 501c3 foundation that supports and advocates for transgender and gender nonconforming youth, their families and providers. TYEF holds summer,fall and spring camps and retreats.



Trans Youth Family Allies: Empowers young people and their families through support,education and outreach about gender identity and expression.



TransActive Gender Center: Provides a holistic range of services and expertise to empower transgender and gender non conforming children, youth and their families in living healthy lives, free of discrimination.



Transgender Law Center: Transgender Law Center works to change law, policy, and attitudes so that all people can live safely, authentically, and free from discrimination regardless of their gender identity or expression.


Gender Spectrum: provides education,training and support to help create a gender sensitive and inclusive environment for children of all ages.