Her Name was Melonie – Another Trans WOC has Committed Suicide

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Another transgender woman of color has taken her own life. Melonie Rose was a beautiful 19-year-old trans woman from Laurel, Maryland. From the start, Melonie had a hard life, having been shuffled from foster home to foster home. She dealt with emotional problems, as a result. No doubt, the discrimination Melonie endured did not help the young woman, who attended a therapeutic, alternative high school, Pathways, where she graduated in 2014.

I learned about Melonie from her close friend, Hunter. Like me, Hunter is a transman. He attended Pathways, with Melonie, and they graduated together, last year. Hunter describes Melonie as, “bright, and full of life and energy.” Melonie was Hunter’s female counterpart. His love for his dear friend is clear, as he writes about speaking at her memorial, telling the story of the last movie they saw together.

HunterwithMelonieRose

Hunter was quite upset, when he attended the memorial service for Melonie. He was shocked to see that her family had an open casket, and instead of dressing her the way Melonie would have wanted to dress, they put her in a suit. Additionally, family members spoke about her by using her birth name and using male pronouns, even though Melonie had legally changed her name. All of the paper materials handed out at the memorial, listed her as her former name, although a picture of Melonie, presenting as a male notes her chosen name of Melonie Rose in parenthesis, next to her birth name.

 a picture in the obituary of Melonie shows  the young woman as a male, before her transition

Melonie is not the first transgender person to commit suicide recently. She joins a growing number of young transgender people who have killed themselves, since 2015 began. She also isn’t the first to be denied her basic human rights of being buried, presented in death, and listed in her obituary and funeral materials by her chosen name and gender pronouns. Twitter is filled with hashtags, including #HerNamewasLeelah (for trans teen, Leelah Alcorn), #HisNameWasZander (for trans teen, Zander Mahaffey), #HerNameWasEylul(for Turkish transwoman, Eylül Cans?n), and #HisNameIsDamien (for trans teen, Damien Strum, who was stopped before he could go through with killing himself, and is now in a psychiatric ward). With that in mind, I ask you all to celebrate the life of Melonie Rose by sharing her story, and refusing to let her be forgotten through the hashtag #HerNameWasMelonie.

I have attached the information that Hunter received, at the Memorial, so you can see how Melonie’s family refused to acknowledge her status, as a proud transwoman, and even in death denied her the comfort of being referred to by her chosen name. Friends of Melonie say she had endured a lot, but that her death was unexpected. Hunter claims was she one of the least likely people, he knew, to commit suicide. Melonie, and the friends who truly knew her and loved her, for the vibrant woman she was, feel a profound sadness, at the loss of their dear friend.

the obituary of Melonie uses her birth name, not her chosen one

We need to do better for our transgender youth. Melonie deserved to be accepted. She deserved to be remembered the way she felt comfortable, not how her family thought they should remember her. It is very important for transgender people, and their loved ones, to protect themselves from intolerant family members going against their own wishes. For transgender people who are over 18, it is imperative to have a will and power of attorney, clearly listing who can make medical decisions and end-of-life/death decisions. This is one of the only ways to prevent family members from exerting their own will into such sensitive matters. For transgender youth under the age of 18, this can be hard, because family is considered the default authority.

What needs to happen is, parents and other family members need to start accepting their children, no matter their gender identity. As parents, it is our job to love our children, no matter what. Sadly, the parents of Melonie Rose, and the other transgender youth mentioned above, have forgotten what being a parent means.

I will never forget you, Melonie. Rest in power, and know you are loved.

Please spread Melonie’s story far and wide. We cannot let ignorance lead us to forget her name: #HerNameWasMelonie. To find out more about Hunter, visit his blog.

Author Bio

Dominick

Dominick is a director/filmmaker, activist, writer, advocate, FTM transman from the Midwest who lives in New York. Follow his film career and join his weekly Twitter chat on film and disability by following #FilmDis. He received his BFA in Film Production in 2014.

27 Comments
  1. Kris

    26 February 2015 at 4:52 pm

    This is so sad, and she lived just about a half an hour away from me. Although I didn’t know her personally, as a QPOC, my heart breaks for her.

  2. Alena Neumann

    27 February 2015 at 5:25 pm

    She didn’t commit anything. Suicide isn’t a crime.

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  4. Chelsea Solis

    27 February 2015 at 7:00 pm

    So sad how Christian assholes exploited her suicide, and misgender her and disrespect her and treat her like shit in death. Tis the life of a Trans Person, treated like shit in life and death, there is no calm for us.

    I fucking hate Christianity and anyone who acts like these horrific vultures abusing this poor child’s death for their own twisted agenda.

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  9. Josie and Lori

    2 March 2015 at 12:18 pm

    I was pleased to see your mature and compassionate handling of the sad news of the passing of Melonie Rose. Who, like Leelah Alcorn and several others, committed suicide late in 2014 & early in 2015 because “christian” family didn’t accept their transgender nature. And they refused to acknowledge their chosen name, often even after a legal name change. Josie & Lori here are both trans women, and transitioned, had SRS, and have recently celebrated our 20th anniversary. Both of us have gone through similar stories, as all of us do. Josie, in particular, had a father that refused to acknowledge her name AND gender, and tried to disown her because of it. She pestered him anyway! He was her father! Eventually, one week before he died, he used her chosen name. It was the last time she would see her dad alive! He worked himself to death in his yard, lowering his blood sugar (he was diabetic and a heart patient) to a lethal level and causing a heart attack. He laid dead in his home 3 days before a neighbor found him dead. It seems that using Josie’s name pushed him over the edge. He knew better than do that kind of work, but he did it anyway. She grieves every day 18 yrs later! So we both know what transgender prejudice can do to people.

    So I hope my next comment won’t offend. It’s not about content. It’s about the website formatting. You see, this site is heavily scripted so much that it resists selecting text. Selecting text is necessary to use a firefox addon that we created called Prostetnic Highlighter. It allows highlighting text in a plethora of custom user created colors and creates a database of highlighted text to facilitate finding highlighted text. This article was EXTREMELY IMPORTANT to us so highlighting & archiving this article is our way of mourning our fallen comrades. But it seems unnecessarily bureaucratic to block select text functions none the less. The layout is beautiful however. I just wish selecting text wasn’t disabled. Sorry!

  10. Kristina English

    2 March 2015 at 1:16 pm

    Rest easy baby girl.

  11. Dominick
    Twitter: dominickevans

    3 March 2015 at 3:27 am

    Thanks for your words. I bought the template, so I didn’t design that feature (to disable highlighting).

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