Suicide Activism

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Those who follow transgender stories from the United States may have been experiencing a bit of deja-vu all over again. In December 2014 Ohio trans woman Leelah Alcorn took her own life by walking in front of a truck on Interstate 71 and it made international news because she had posted a suicide note to Tumblr that closed "Fix society." Then ten months later in October 2015 Utah trans woman Ashley Hallstrom took her own life by walking in front of a truck on Highway 89/91 and made international headlines by posting a suicide note to Facebook that ended "Please six society."

The lack of originality in Hallstrom's suicide is unsurprising as suicide attempts are usually not made when people are at the height of their creative powers. There is likely to have been a lot of other thoughts buzzing around Hallstrom's mind than the fear of not having done it her way. I oppose the anti-suicide fundamentalists such as the Samaritans who say that suicide is always the wrong choice to make. I make no apologies, however, for saying that suicide is the wrong choice for making a political statement. In asserting that I do not have Alcorn and Hallstrom in mind, but the activists who see suicide statistics as the route to political salvation.

Before attending to fixing society, transgender activists should move with all speed to fix their own agenda that is killing the people they support. Transgender activists (as evidenced in most online transgender forums) make a lot of suicide statistics, including using it as emotional blackmail to family: support your transgender child or they will attempt suicide. The end does not always justify the means, especially when the means is encouraging transgender people to seek their end.

Suicide is seldom a rash decision, but one that is careful weighed in the scales between how bad life appears on one side and the potential for some future improvements on the other side. A final decision to attempt suicide is often because some factor has tipped the scales sharply in favour of life never getting sufficiently better to justify staying alive. One of the factors that can tip the scales is the feeling that the suicide will deal with some of the events that have driven the suicide attempter this low. For example, the young teenager who attempts suicide to teach their school bullies a lesson or the young transgender person who attempts suicide because online activists were encouraging supporters to accentuate any past suicidal feelings in filling in a government survey.

Stop trying to tip the scales.

Please fix suicide activism.


© Mercia McMahon. All rights reserved

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