Obama calls for end to ‘devastating’ LGBT conversion therapy

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President Barack Obama has called for an end to “conversion” therapies which aim to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of LGBT youths.

The President responded to a petition which followed the suicide of Ohio 17-year-old Leelah Alcorn, who wrote in a suicide note on Tumblr citing her parent’s refusal to accept her trans status, and calling for better education and awareness.

Responding, White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said the Obama administration backed banning religious conversion therapy for minors.

“We share your concern about its potentially devastating effects on the lives of transgender as well as gay, lesbian, bisexual and queer youth,” Jarrett said.

“The overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrates that conversion therapy, especially when it is practiced on young people, is neither medically nor ethically appropriate and can cause substantial harm.”

Although the statement did not explicitly call for legislation to be brought in to ban the practice, it did highlight other states and jurisdictions which already have bans in place.

Washington DC last month became the third jurisdiction in the US to ban gay-to-straight conversion therapy.

In 2013 the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld California’s ban on gay cure therapies and in December last year the 3rd Circuit upheld a similar law in New Jersey.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article and need to talk to someone, visit samaritans.org or call 08457 90 90 90.