I didn’t know Haley before yesterday. I learned of her life through reading a gut-wrenching obituary written by family confused as to why their beautiful daughter took her life. After reading her obituary I was moved to tears. I was then moved to action.
I have been there on the brink of suicide. I am absolutely certain every single trans woman on this planet has been there at one point. I cannot even imagine the weight bearing down on this poor child who had what looked like a loving, accepting family and welcoming online community. The weight that she eventually succumbed to as she realize the world she was growing up in would never let her live her life in peace. That moved me to tears as I read through her family’s account of her life. It moved me to anger the longer I let it stew in my heart. This child should be graduating high school, getting ready for college not lying in a casket six feet below the earth she called home.
I didn’t want to turn this into a battle cry. I didn’t know Haley and yet here I am mourning her loss as if she was a part of my own family. In a way she was. She was a part of a larger trans community I myself have become quite accustomed to turning to when I am suffering. I don’t want to put my head in the same mental space this beautiful child was in when she decided to end her life. I don’t need to imagine, I been there. I’ve felt that weight on my own chest. My shoulders are worn with the weight of the world my trans brothers, sisters and others face on a daily basis.
This isn’t a battle cry because the battle has already been lost. Her life was the goal. We failed. Not just us, the trans community; not jut her friends and family, not even her cis gender allies who are likely in mourning tonight as well; we all failed this poor child. We, the human race, are to blame for the loss of her life.
Here was a teenager about to enter the adult world knowing the politicians running the government she turned to hate her. This was a child about to enter the work force facing employers that want to erase her. She was young woman on the cusp of entering into a world that wanted to see her exactly where she ended up. That is what has me boiling over with rage today. Outrage that is.
I am outraged that our society sweeps her death, and others like her under the rug. I am outraged that she felt the only way out was to take her life in the first place. I am outraged more people aren’t outraged by her passing. I am outraged at myself for not doing more to help the trans youth in their struggle. I failed you, Haley. Not the world. Not humanity. I did. I jointly share in the burden of your life taken too soon.
I have read too many articles of queer folks who have taken their lives. I have read too many statistics on how the number one killer of trans people are ourselves. I have listened to too man trans sisters in tears over the weight of the world crying into my ears as I listen to them, myself crying on the inside. This girl should be alive today. I am outraged that we let her down. We can’t let down any more trans youth. We need to stand up. We need to do more. I can’t personally do much for this young woman’s family. I don’t have much in the way of resources. What I can do is make damn sure her memory is honored, her life is respected and people know her name. She deserved that. I never knew you Haley, but I weep for you because I would have loved you. I would have welcomed you into our community. I will mourn never getting to follow you on trans twitter. I will mourn the others we will inevitably loose as time marches on. For now I offer a link to your obituary and a request. Share her name with those you can. Honor her life because it was worth so much more than this.