April 9, 2015

TLDEF Praises White House For Stance Against Conversion Therapy

New York, NY - The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) commends the White House for speaking out against so-called conversion therapy for LGBT minors. Conversion therapy is a widely discredited practice that attempts to change an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity. Late yesterday the Obama Administration made its opinion known in response to a White House “We the People” petition calling for a ban on the practice. The petition, signed by more than 120,000 people, came in response to the tragic loss of a transgender teen from Ohio named Leelah Alcorn who died by suicide in late December. The petition says that prior to her death Leelah’s parents “forced her to attend conversion therapy, pulled her out of school and isolated her in an attempt to change her gender identity.”

In responding to the petition urging a conversion therapy ban, White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett said in part:

“We share your concern about [conversion therapy’s] potentially devastating effects on the lives of transgender as well as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and queer youth.... As part of our dedication to protecting America’s youth, this Administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors.”

Statement from TLDEF Executive Director Michael Silverman

“We applaud the Obama Administration for taking a stand against so-called conversion therapy, a practice that has been universally discredited by leading health authorities including the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. It is widely known to be a dangerous practice that can greatly harm those who are subjected to it.

“Leelah Alcorn’s story galvanized the nation to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth. We congratulate the advocates behind this petition for their success in gaining the support of the White House. We in turn thank President Obama and his team for listening to this urgent appeal and taking a stand to support the health and well-being of LGBT young people.

“With the recent passage of youth conversion therapy bans in California, New Jersey, and Washington DC, and efforts to enact similar legislation in 18 other states, we stand with the White House in pushing for laws like this throughout the nation.”