As we move into the new year, one transgender teen's suicide is still making national ripples almost a week after the fact. Leelah Alcorn, 17, took her life by stepping in front of a tractor-trailer on Ohio Interstate 71 early Sunday morning. Her suicide note was a poignant letter that addressed several important issues and touched thousands of people, including ex-My Chemical Romance guitarist Ray Toro.
The 37-year-old, who is currently putting the finishing touches on a new solo album, decided to remove "For the Lost and the Brave" from the LP and release it as a standalone single in honor of Alcorn.
Toro then penned a blog post about his decision. Read it below:
As I'm sure many of you felt after reading the news of young Leelah Alcorn taking her own life, my heart sank. I felt sick. Yet another young life gone because of not being heard, not being understood, and not being unconditionally loved for who they truly were.
After hearing her story, and reading her final Tumblr post, I finally felt it was time to share this song...
There have been many times that I've almost put it out, but have always found a reason to hold it back. But lately there seems to be so much hate and misunderstanding in this world.
It is time we learn to accept each other for who we truly are. Being seen, heard, and truly loved as our authentic selves is something we all want, and something we all deserve.
The song serves as shelter for those in need of it. The uplifting, rebellious tune begins with the following lines:
Walking in the rain
The feeling comes again
Something in my head
Tells me I'm nothing
Toro was right; it's a fitting tune for Alcorn, whose suicide note included the following (via The Boston Globe): "Gender needs to be taught about in schools, the earlier the better. My death needs to mean something. .... Fix society. Please."
"For the Lost and the Brave" is a small step toward fixing things, but a step nonetheless. Listen below: