USA President Obama has publicly positioned himself against “gay cure” treatments supposed to turn gay and bisexual people straight or turn trans people cis.
The move was prompted by the death of Leelah Alcorn at the end of last year, and an ensuing petition to the White House that garnered more than 120,000 signatures.
The petition read, “On Sunday, December 27, 2014, Leelah Alcorn a 17 year old transgender youth wrote a suicide note, posted it on Tumblr and then walked in front of a semi-truck tragically ending her life. Leelah explained how her parents had forced her to attend conversion therapy, pulled her out of school and isolated her in an attempt to change her gender identity. ‘Conversion therapies’ have been documented to cause great harms and in this case, Leelah’s death. Therapists that engage in the attempt to brainwash or reverse any child’s gender identity or sexual orientation are seriously unethical and legislation is needed to end such practices that are resulting in LGBTQ+ deaths. We respectfully seek your help to ban the practice known as ‘conversion therapy’ and name the bill in honor of Leelah Alcorn.”
The White House’s formal response began with a quote from the President reflecting on the internal torment of queer children fearing or knowing their family and society hates them for who they are.
It then set out the Obama administration’s position:
“Conversion therapy generally refers to any practices by mental health providers that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Often, this practice is used on minors, who lack the legal authority to make their own medical and mental health decisions. We share your concern about its potentially devastating effects on the lives of transgender as well as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and queer youth.
“When assessing the validity of conversion therapy, or other practices that seek to change an individual’s gender identity or sexual orientation, it is as imperative to seek guidance from certified medical experts. 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.
“As part of our dedication to protecting America’s youth, this Administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors.”
It goes on to celebrate those US states that have outlawed the practice and the impact that supportive families have on their LGBT children.