Hope and change

Obama calls for an end to “conversion” therapy for LGBT youth

Zach Gibson/The New York Times

Obama has already made great strides for LGBT equality, and seems to want to cement that reputation in his final years as president. A statement released by the White House announced that Obama will call for end to therapies aimed at “repairing” gay, lesbian and transgender youth. The highly controversial “therapy” is backed by some socially conservative groups and religious doctors, but has no grounds in any real  science (or reality, for that matter.) The White House statement, written by Obama’s senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, said that “the overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrates that conversion therapy, especially when it is practised on young people, is neither medically nor ethically appropriate and can cause substantial harm.” The statement comes as a response to a WhiteHouse.gov petition, started in honor of Leelah Alcorn, a 17-year old transgender youth who committed suicide after revealing in an online suicide note that religious therapists had tried to convert her back to being a boy. Jarrett said that President Obama had been deeply moved by her death, but that the problem went way beyond just this one story. While he won’t call for a federal ban on such therapies, he will put his support behind state level efforts to ban the practice.

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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