Conversion therapy called out

White House decries therapies attempting to ‘convert’ LGBTQ youth

President Obama supports banning psychiatric treatments aimed at changing the sexual orientation or gender identity of LGBTQ youth.

The statement, made by White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett on April 8, comes in response to an online petition posted to the administration’s website following the death of 17-year-old Leelah Alcorn, a trangender girl from Ohio who committed suicide in December, according to The Associated Press. Alcorn (pictured) left behind writings of undergoing religious conversion therapy.

Obama is not specifically calling for a nationwide ban, but the statement did highlight 18 states that have introduced legislation similar to laws already in place in California, New Jersey and Washington, D.C., banning conversion therapies.

“The overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrates that conversion therapy, especially when practiced on young people, is neither medically nor ethically appropriate and can cause substantial harm,” Jarrett said.