ST. LOUIS - Dozens of LGBT and allied community members lit candles and stood outside the Metropolitan Community Church of Greater St. Louis on Friday, Jan. 2 in solidarity with thousands across the country in remembrance of Leelah Alcorn, a transgender teen who identified as female who committed suicide last week.


Alcorn, 17, was struck and killed by a passing semi trailer on an Ohio interstate on Sunday, and a previously written suicide note later appeared on the teen’s Tumblr blog through scheduled publishing citing her family's disapproval as the reason. 


The STL Solidarity with #StandUp4Leelah Candle Vigil was organized by the Missouri GSA Network and held in conjunction with their retreat being held at MCCGSL.


"It's to commemorate the life of Leelah and to remember her and begin to honor her wish and move towards a better world for all young trans people," said Waldman, event organizer and president of Missouri GSA Network. "A lot of people here tonight are young trans people and this is a reality in their lives, including myself. So it's really recognizing our own struggle and begin to heal so we can get into the work - not that we aren't already."


Alcorns death prompted similar actions across the country and has garnered national media attention.


"I think it is a good thing in some aspects because it raises awareness," Waldman continued. "It's always a good first step in moving any movement - just raising awareness is good."


Alcorn's parents, who were not supportive of her desire to transition and submitted the teen to a form of reparative therapy, have since spoken out in interviews ignoring Leelah’s gender identity, saying they loved their “son.”


"What brings me out tonight is I can't stand LGBTQ teens in crisis and Leelah's story really, really touched me," said St. Louis resident Matt Jamieson. "It made me want to get up and change what is going on so this doesn't happen again."




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