White House announces support for ban on so-called "conversion" therapy

The White House announced on Wednesday that the "Administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors." The statement, posted to the White House blog by Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett, comes as an official response to a "We the People" petition that called on the Administration to "Enact Leelah's Law to Ban all LGBTQ+ Conversion Therapy." More than 120,000 people signed the petition, which took its name from the tragic story of Leelah Alcorn, a 17 year-old transgender woman who took her own life after being subjected to so-called "conversion therapy."

"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," said the White House. The statement goes on to outline legislative actions already taken in states like New Jersey, which bans the harmful practice on minors, and notes that "While a national ban would require congressional action, we are hopeful that the clarity of the evidence combined with the actions taken by these states will lead to broader action that this Administration would support."

"No child should ever have to endure the nightmarish trauma of so-called 'conversion therapy,'" said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. "For more than a decade, medical authorities have denounced this as both dangerous and ineffective. At a time when LGBT youth already face horrific rates of bullying, we must do better to ensure their safety both at school and at home by banning so-called 'conversion therapy' on minors once and for all."