In a groundbreaking statement issued from The White House last night President Obama responded to a ‘We the People’ petition urging the government to Enact ‘Leelah’s Law to Ban All LGBTQ Conversion Therapy’ after it had reached more than 120,000 signatures.
The President is quoted “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.”
His White House Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett added,
“We share your concern about its 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…This Administration believes that young people should be valued for who they are, no matter what they look like, where they’re from, the gender with which they identify, or who they love.”
Leelah Alcorn was a 17-year-old transgender youth, who stunned her friends and a vast Internet audience in December when she threw herself in front of a tractor-trailer after writing in an online suicide note that religious therapists had tried to convert her back to being a boy.
In an interview with the New York Times, Ms. Jarrett said Mr. Obama had been moved by the story of Ms. Alcorn’s suicide. But she said the problem went far beyond Ms. Alcorn.
“It was tragic, but I will tell you, unfortunately, she has a lot of company,” Ms. Jarrett said. “It’s not the story of one young person. It is the story of countless young people who have been subjected to this.
It also marks another step forward for the President too whose ideas about gay marriage had “evolved”. But he now supports same-sex marriage and has sought greater equality of treatment for gay men and lesbians in the government and the private work force. In his first term, he pushed the Pentagon to end the notorious ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ policy that had kept gay service members from serving openly.