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Friday, October 28, 2016

Washington (AFP) — US President Barack Obama is calling for an end to so-called conversion therapies that seek to change sexual or gender orientation of young homosexuals or transgenders.

The call is in response to a petition on the White House website that was launched after the death of 17-year-old Leelah Alcorn, a transgender youth who committed suicide in December.

In a note posted online before her death, Alcorn wrote about being forced to undergo conversion therapy by her parents.

Obama said young people must be given the right to choose and live safely regardless of sexual orientation.

“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,” Obama said in a statement Wednesday.

“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.”

The online petition has received more than 120,000 signatures in the past three months.

Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to Obama said the therapy, also called “reparative” treatment, are morally and medically damaging.

“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 in a statement.

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

Obama has been a vocal supporter of gay rights, both on US soil and abroad and is the first US president to come out in support of same-sex marriage.

Photo: Mandel Ngan via AFP

  • Daniel Jones

    It’s about damned time someone faced up to the fact that conversion and similar claptrap not only does not work, but causes more problems.
    Following the viewing of The Imitation Game, I confirmed the chemical sterilization of the man who broke the Enigma code for the horrible sin of.. being gay without permission. As another piece of British Gender Misconduct, it was suggested by Patricia Cornwall in an examination of the Ripper murders that the culprit was an artist who had been tortured in a crude attempt at gender reorientation, and that he basically never stopped killing, simply changing his MO.
    I would imagine that this will bring about yet more derision from the religious right insisting that Obama has to be some kind of Muslim for daring to tolerate gays and not support their being tortured (despite the fact that radical Islam is far, far worse on gays..)
    To them, I say save it. That ship has sailed, and all the justifications are doing anymore is letting we few remaining sane people know that fanaticism destroys brain tissue.