March 2015

Leelah and Eylül and Zander
Melanie Rose, Ash, and Blake
These were their names
These are their names
And we’ll sing their names
And speak their stories

The weight falls
Their lives extinguished but
Radioing echo booms
Across a nation
Across a world
That fights to not recognize their existence

Leelah Alcorn was 17 years old
17 years young
17 years stopped by the head of a truck
Because they were 17 years
Of not daughter but son
Of misplaced being
Of not being
17 years of never hearing her own name fall from her parent’s lips

Leelah and Eylül and Zander
Melanie Rose, Ash, and Blake
These were their names
These are their names
And we’ll sing their names
And speak their stories

And she is not the only one
In 4 months there have been 8 reported trans youth suicides
From Kings Mill, Ohio
To Istanbul, Turkey
To Charlotte, North Carolina
Leelah 17, Eylül 24, Zander 15
Melanie 19, Ash 15, Blake 18
And they are not the only ones
Every 1 in 2 trans people will attempt suicide
At some point in our lifetimes
So half of the time I find myself wanting to check
The fuses of my siblings’ spines

I don’t want to acknowledge that
But then I remember how many parents
Will only acknowledge their baptismal names
The cries of the known and the unknown
Are reverberating through our chests
Shaking the bones of our community
As our hearts pound louder to prove that
We are still here

Their headstones read legal names
But our voices raise up saying

Leelah and Eylül and Zander
Melanie Rose, Ash, and Blake
These were their names
These are their names
And we’ll sing their names
And speak their stories

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