The mother of a young transgender woman paid tribute to the 20-year-old daughter who took her own life in Brighton last year.
Alice Litman, of Albion Hill, moved to Brighton in September 2021 and fell to her death from the cliff top at Roedean in May 2022.
Alice’s mother, Caroline Litman, read the family tribute at Brighton and Hove Coroner’s Court, sitting at the Sussex County Cricket Ground, in Eaton Road, Hove, this afternoon (Monday 18 September).
Dr Litman said: “Here in our living world you are gone. But you are not forgotten.”
She quoted friends who spoke at Alice’s funeral, describing her as “bold and brave, yet soft, warm and kind, someone full of beauty and grace” and relentlessly intelligent.
One friend said that Alice used her “intelligence to read the room and know exactly what to say to diffuse situations, often with humour”.
Dr Litman said: “You could be quite earnest, even as a small child, a sensible little thing … You were also exuberant and full of joy.
“You were constantly delighted by your world. Bravely climbing trees, even though you were scared of heights, star gazing (and) lying in the middle of our road, because there was less light pollution there than nearer the house.
“We often joked that we didn’t know where you came from, that you were so much quieter and gentler than the rest of us, that you were an angel from heaven.
“Just as you delighted in the world, people could not help but be delighted in you. But over time the world became more scary than delightful to you.
“At home we saw a change, not a sudden one, where we could point a finger at a page and say, it started here, but a slow gradual, fluctuating journey.
“You became so withdrawn and inaccessible to me – and it was so difficult to see you in so much pain.
“And it was equally difficult to have my friends and professionals minimise your experience when I knew your experience was not a ‘normal’ teenage withdrawal but something far more nuanced and other – even before we knew you were Alice.
“I have so many regrets, what ifs and might have beens. It was all so impossibly difficult, battling the system, and it is only really since your death that I have truly come to understand how intolerable it was for you to have your right to live freely in your gender so utterly denied to you.
“But we cherish those moments when, despite your struggles in a system that did not value you, you were still able to shine.
“We wish so much that we could turn back time and make things better for you, be better for you. Our deepest, impossible desire, that you could be here today. We long to hear your voice again.
“We long to hold you close. We should be making new memories but, instead, we do this, recounting old ones from when you were still here. These little moments of your life buoy us up when we are sinking.
“I don’t believe in an afterlife really. I think it would be terribly cruel for you to be able to see those you’ve left behind. But I do let myself imagine I will see you one day.
“I am no longer afraid of dying as I can imagine it bringing me back to you again which is all I really want. I love you so. We all do.”