Obama Just Made a Huge Announcement on Behalf of the Gay & Trans Community
April 09, 20151 min read
Mental health is just as important as physical health. That's why following the recent death of Leelah Alcorn, a 17-year-old transgender youth who committed suicide in December, an online petition was submitted to the Whitehouse to ban "conversion therapy".
"Conversion therapies" have been documented to cause great mental and emotional harm, such as depression and anxiety and often lead to suicide. More often than not, this practice is used on minors who have no legal authority to make their own mental health decisions. On top of that, the American Psychiatric Association found no evidence conversion therapies actually work.
In Leelah's Tumblr account, she often spoke spoke of her family forcing her to undergo Christian conversion therapies to "convert" her back to being a boy. Shortly after her death the "Leelah's Law to Ban All LGBTQ+ Conversion Therapy" petition was released - now containing over 120,000 signatures and counting.
On Wednesday, the president responded to the petition with plans to help see that Leelah's Law passes.
"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."
A federal ban on conversion therapy would need congressional support. Currently New Jersey and California are the only states that ban conversion therapy.
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