The first time Abby Jones talked to Leelah Alcorn, it was summer, when Alcorn had just taken a new job as a caricaturist at an Ohio amusement park. That day, Jones didn’t notice the sadness. She didn’t see the confusion — or the pain that she would come to recognize in Alcorn’s pale brown eyes. Alcorn was demure, but witty, someone who would surprise with a quiet joke that left you rolling. “She had this light,” Jones told The Washington Post. “She would make these jokes, and say these things quietly that were really funny. Basically, we were soon best friends.”
The last time Abby Jones talked to Leelah Alcorn was on Christmas morning. Jones again didn’t notice anything amiss. By then, she knew of the struggles Alcorn endured. She knew that Alcorn’s given name was Joshua, and that she was transgender. She knew Alcorn’s parents resisted their child’s urge to transition. And she knew all about Leelah’s depression. But as the two talked last week, Alcorn seemed upbeat. Happy, even.
“She was talking about her New Year’s resolutions, and how she was going to try to be more happy and accept people for who they were,” Jones told The Post early Wednesday morning. “It was a really light-hearted conversation. And then on Sunday, when I heard what happened, I was just in shock.”
There are a lot of kids out there who are hurting. I think all of us need to consider how we can be good Christian examples to them and comfort them when they need it. It isn’t an easy balance, but this is the kind of thing that can happen when things go wrong.