John M. Becker

White House Calls for End to LGBT 'Conversion Therapy'

Filed By John M. Becker | April 09, 2015 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Gay Icons and History, Living
Tags: Barack Obama, conversion therapy, ex-gay myth, ex-gay therapy, Obama administration, pray away the gay, reparative therapy, Valerie Jarrett, White House

official_portrait_of_barack_obama.jpgThe Obama administration is calling for an end to so-called "conversion therapy," a discredited and dangerous form of abuse that falsely purports to change the sexual orientation and/or gender identity of LGBT people.

Reuters reports:

The White House statement, written by senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, is 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 died after her parents forced her to attend conversion therapy, pulled her out of school and isolated her in an attempt to change her gender identity.

"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," 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 Washington Blade calls last night's statement a "likely first" for the Obama administration, noting that when former White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was asked for the President's position on the issue in July 2011 -- in the wake of an undercover, hidden-camera investigation where I filmed "ex-gay" therapy sessions at the Minnesota counseling clinic co-owned by Marcus and Michele Bachmann -- Carney declined to come out against it.

This time around, Jarrett told the Blade that the White House statement supporting an end to "conversion therapy" reflects the views of President Obama himself.

Watch Rachel Maddow's report on this historic news, after the break.

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