Obama will call for an end to gay 'conversion' therapies for minors

Barack ObamaAPPresident Barack Obama at the White House discussing the shooting at the Paris headquarters of Charlie Hebdo magazine.

President Barack Obama has responded to a petition that aims to stop so-called gay conversion therapies geared toward minors.

The petition, posted on the White House website, tells the story of Leelah Alcorn, a transgender teenager who identified as a girl.

According to the petition, “Enact Leelah’s Law to Ban All LGBTQ+ Conversion Therapy,” Leelah’s parents allegedly “forced her to attend conversion therapy, pulled her out of school and isolated her in an attempt to change her gender identity.”

The petition states Leelah later committed suicide. To date, the petition has received more than 120,000 signatures. Obama’s senior adviser Valerie Jarrett posted the President’s official response to the petition:

“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.”

Jarrett added, “As part of our dedication to protecting America’s youth, this Administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors.”

The New York Times reports Obama will call for an end to such therapies this week.

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