Obama Calls For An End To 'Gay Conversion' Therapies


Responding to an online petition calling for “conversion” therapy to be outlawed, President Barack Obama has condemned such therapies that claim to “cure” LGBT people.


The petition, which was inspired by the tragic suicide of transgender teen Leelah Alcorn, received over 120,000 signatures before being submitted to the Obama Administration. The petition called for President Obama to impose a nationwide ban on the practice of trying to “convert” LGBT people – which has been proven to be extremely harmful.

“The medical and mental health communities have long made clear that they reject the practice of conversion therapy, aimed at ‘changing’ one’s sexual orientation,” said White House official, Valerie Jarrett, speaking on behalf of the president.

“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.

“Similarly, the American Psychological Association has repeatedly affirmed its stance against these practices, recently stating that efforts to change an individual’s sexual orientation can pose serious health risks to LGBTQ+ individuals. As part of our dedication to protecting America’s youth, this Administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors.


Obama wrote in the statement:

“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. 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.”


While The White House has not suggested any legislative change, LGBT groups have welcomed the comments. Mara Keisling from National Centre for Transgender Equality said, “Having President Obama and the weight of the White House behind efforts to ban conversion therapy is so critical in the fight for transgender and LGBT young people,” Keisling said.

Currently, these therapies are only banned in California and New Jersey. Worryingly, traditionally conservative states including Oklahoma are considering legislation to protect the practice of “gay conversion” therapy.

© 2015 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

0 comments. Please sign in to comment.