“Please help make this change because trans people are everywhere. You may never know who you’re hurting until it’s too late. Please help fix society.”
“Please help fix society.” The words stung as I read them, remembering the same plea coming from Leelah Alcorn just under a year ago. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a quote from Leelah though. It was the final sentence of a public Facebook post made yesterday by 26-year-old Ashley Hallstrom, who reportedly died by suicide shortly afterwards.
Very little information about Ashley has been shared at this point. Gay Salt Lake reports [trigger warning: link contains details of death] that she was a regular contributor to Reddit forums, and just a couple of months ago she had reached out to and spoken with another trans person who was struggling with suicide. Ashley had also recently shared her experience of dating a man for the first time, which unfortunately did not end well as her date felt that she had too many “masculine features” that were “coming through”. [FYI: dating for trans people can be incredibly difficult, and sometimes even dangerous, due to socially based transphobia and homophobia.]
My sincere condolences to all of those who knew and loved Ashley. I am sorry for your loss.
Ashley is the 20th trans person reported to have died by suicide so far in 2015. The complete list of victims so this year is:
- January 5, 2015 – Eylul Cansin (23)
- February 11, 2015 – Melonie Rose (19)
- February 15, 2015 – Zander Mahaffey (15)
- February 24, 2015 – Aubrey Mariko Shine (22)
- February 26, 2015 – Ash Haffner (16)
- March 2, 2015 – Sage David (??) [Need age confirmation]
- March 15, 2015 – Taylor Wells (18)
- March 23, 2015 – Blake Brockington (18)
- March 28, 2015 – Ezra Page (15)
- April 2, 2015 – Taylor Alesana (16)
- April 9, 2015 – Sam Taub (15)
- April 28, 2015 – Rachel Bryk (23)
- May 1, 2015 – Cameron Langrell (15)
- May 18, 2015 – Kyler Prescott (14)
- June 24, 2015 – Jess Ships (31)
- June 26, 2015 – Sam Ehly (21)
- September 28, 2015 – Skylar Marcus Lee (16)
- September 28, 2015 – Ryley Courchene (30)
- October 7, 2015 – Emmett Castle (14)
- October 14, 2015 – Ashley Hallstrom (26)
If there are absolutely any names that you know of who are missing from this list, PLEASE feel free to contact me at any time via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, so that they too can be remembered authentically and respectfully. Additionally, if you notice any errors of any kind, or, if you can confirm any incomplete information above, please let me know in the comments section below or toss me an email to the aforementioned address.
Finally, with Trans Day of Remembrance coming up this November 20th, I want to encourage absolutely everyone involved in the organization of that event in their area to please include the names of those who have died by suicide. Those who have died by suicide were often victims of harassment, discrimination, abuse, coercion, violence, and social and systemic transphobia. For these reasons, and many more, I firmly believe that they should be included in discussion and observance of TDoR.
Besides, I believe that they also just simply deserve a respectful memorial that does not erase or invalidate who they were.
To speak with counselors who have experience in dealing with a wide range of transgender issues, please contact the Trans Lifeline at (877) 565-8860, in the U.S., or (877) 330-6366, in Canada.