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09th Apr 2015

Barack Obama Calls for an End to Gay “Conversion Therapy”

The White House issued a statement on Wednesday evening.

Rebecca McKnight

Barack Obama has called for an end to so-called “conversion therapy”, a practice that claims to change the sexual orientation of gay youths. 

In a statement issued by the White House on Wednesday evening, the President of the United States responded to a petition which had called for his backing regarding a law to ban conversion therapy. The petition had attracted more than 120,000 signatures.

The White House statement, which was penned by senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, included the statement from the President:

“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,” said Obama. “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.”

The original petition was started following the death by suicide transgender teenager Leelah Alcorn, in December of last year. Leelah died at the age of 17, after documenting her parents’ inability to accept her sexuality via a Tumblr account, where she also left a suicide note.


Leelah Alcorn, who tragically died by suicide in December

The American Psychiatric Association has opposed conversion therapy since 1998.