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Obama Calls for End of 'Conversion Therapy' for LGBT Youth


Though not calling for a federal ban on the practice, the POTUS is putting his efforts behind banning 'conversion therapy' at the state level. 

In response to a petition that garnered over 120,000 signatures in three months, President Obama has called for the end of "conversion therapy" for LGBT minors.

"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," wrote the POTUS in a statement posted by Valerie Jarrett that responded to the petition

"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."

The petition was begun in honor of Leelah Alcorn, a 17-year-old transgender woman who ended her own life after being subjected to the practice, which has been deemed harmful by the medical and psychological communities.

The president isn't calling for a federal law banning therapists from using such therapies on their patients, though he is willing to start conversations with lawmakers in both parties, White House officials said on Wednesday.

Rather the president says he's putting his support behind banning the practice on the state level.

California, New Jersey and the District of Columbia have banned therapists from offering the treatment to minors and similar legislation has been introduced 18 states this year.

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Alex Panisch