Friday, 2 January 2015
Seventeen year old Leelah Alcorn of Kings Mill, Ohio, was a tragic victim of such parental dogmatism. Born a boy but having told her devoutly Christian parents she wanted to be a girl, they forced her to undergo conversion therapy to cure her transgender feelings.
Last Sunday she walked in front of a truck on Highway I-71 and was crushed to death. She left a suicide note saying her parents had broken her heart and made her hate herself.
This is hardly a unique case. So many parents won't accept their children's personal identity and try to push them in some direction they're not comfortable with, which simply screws them up. They find their children's independence deeply alarming and hard to adapt to.
Fathers want their sons to join the family business. They want them to be tough, unemotional high-fliers. Or they want them to be sporty outdoor types. Mothers want their daughters to go into traditional female jobs, or to be pretty and submissive, or to have lots of children. Religious parents want their children to share their beliefs. Socialist parents are terrified their children will become gung-ho capitalists.
There are children who are pushed to become champion swimmers or concert pianists or mathematical geniuses, but who eventually crack up under the strain and give it all up to become civil servants or baristas.
My own parents sent me to a school completely unsuited to my personality - emphasising sport and religion and regarding anything artistic or cultural as unimportant. Clearly I was unhappy but I wasn't allowed to switch to a more suitable school. The emotional fall-out still lingers.
Children need to be nurtured, not moulded.
Pic: Leelah Alcorn