Barack Obama has called for an end to psychiatric therapies that seek to change the sexual orientation of gay, lesbian and transgender youth, the White House said.
The White House statement, written by senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, came on Wednesday in response to a petition calling for Obama to back a law to ban conversion therapy, which is supported by some socially conservative organizations and religious doctors.
The petition was started following the suicide in December of 17-year-old transgender youth Leelah Alcorn, who said she was forced to attend conversion therapy, pulled out of school and isolated.
“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,” Jarrett said.
“As part of our dedication to protecting America’s youth, this administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors,” she said.
The petition said that on Sunday 27 December, Alcorn wrote a suicide note, posted it on Tumblr and then walked in front of a semi-trailer.
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