Obama Pushes to End Conversion Therapy

Transgender youth has been a topic showing up in the media now more than ever. After the suicide of Leelah Acorn, a transgender 17 year old, the practice of conversion therapy has gained massive attention. Also known as ‘reparative therapy,’ it aims to do exactly that: repair LGBT people. This therapy is usually pushed onto LGBT youth by unsupportive parents, as was the case with Leelah.

The White House petition to enact “Leelah’s Law to Ban All LGBTW+ Conversion Therapy” was responded to on late Wednesday evening. President Obama has embraced the gay community throughout his time in office. His calling to end therapies aimed at “repairing” LGBT youth is just another example of his support. Included in the statement released was a response from the President himself saying:

“Tonight, somewhere in America, a young person, let’s say a young man, will struggle to fall to sleep, wrestling alone with a secret he’s held as long as he can remember,” he said. “Soon, perhaps, he will decide it’s time to let that secret out. What happens next depends on him, his family, as well as his friends and his teachers and his community. But it also depends on us — on the kind of society we engender, the kind of future we build.”

Conversion therapies have been criticized by many in the American Psychiatric Association, saying they only reinforce demeaning and damaging mindsets. White House adviser to the President Valerie Jarrett wrote the bulk of the statement, making it a point to speak on the harm caused by such therapies. Many states have already enacted legislation that protects minors from the dangers of conversion therapies. While a national ban on these therapies would require the legislative action of Congress, one can hope that the support from the Obama Administration in conjunction with actions already taken by states will lead to such a change.

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