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Trans teen who committed suicide 'boldly' stepped 'in front of a tractor-trailer,' professor says

File - Leelah Alcorn (WKRC/Provided)
File - Leelah Alcorn (WKRC/Provided)
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A professor of pediatrics at the University of Alabama-Birmingham (UAB) is facing fierce backlash for describing a transgender youth's suicide as "bold" at a national conference.

The comments from Dr. Morissa Ladinsky came during the 2022 American Academy of Pediatrics national conference, and were highlighted by fellow pediatrician Dr. Julia Mason, who attended the event.

Our last speaker @moladinsky runs the gender clinic at the University of Alabama. She just described a suicide as 'boldly stepping in front of a truck.' She repeated the word boldly," tweeted Mason.
I, I can't even," she continued. "Glorifying suicide is unprofessional and dangerous.

Ladinsky's comments revolved around the life and death of Leelah Alcorn, who was a transgender teenager reportedly unaccepted by her family and forced into therapy by her parents. Alcorn eventually stepped in front of a tractor-trailer, leaving a suicide note to go live on her social media roughly an hour after she was killed.

In the final days of 2014, a local 16-year-old young lady, Leelah Alcorn ... stepped boldly in front of a tractor trailer ending her life," Ladinsky can be heard saying on video from the event, recorded on Mason's phone.
Her suicide note, written to post on social media about an hour after her death went viral -- literally, around the world," Ladinsky continued in the video. "Now, Leelah was not my patient, but I took care of hundreds of her classmates at Kings Mills High School. But each day, on the way to work I passed that spot where this teen boldly ended her life."

Mason argued that Ladinsky's comments were "concretizing gender ideation.

"As pediatricians, we’ve forgotten what we’ve been taught about childhood development. We’ve forgotten what we’ve been taught about suicide prevention," Mason said.

Ladinsky works as an associate professor of pediatrics at UAB, and is co-lead of the UAB Youth Multidisciplinary Gender Health Team. She is an outspoken activist on transgender issues.

Last year, Ladinsky wrote an op-ed arguing she could be arrested for doing her job if the state passed a bill prohibiting gender change therapies for minors. The bill would have prohibited the withholding of certain healthcare information from parents as well.

However, the bill never passed, ultimately failing on the floor of the legislature.

"To all youth, we pediatricians see you, embrace you and say your names, whether chosen or given," Ladinsky wrote in her op-ed. "We will uphold your health and life as we work daily to improve the provision of culturally responsive care for all children and families. We elevate your voices and we refuse to let ignorance get in the way of your wellbeing."

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