President Obama came out forcefully Wednesday against gay conversion therapy, issuing a statement against the policy.
“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,” President Obama’s senior aide Valerie Jarrett said.
Jarrett continued that the administration will dedicate itself to outlawing the process.
“As part of our dedication to protecting America’s youth, this Administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors,” she said.
The president’s response comes as a petition built up widespread support following the suicide of 17-year-old transgender teen Leelah Alcorn in December. Alcorn wrote a Tumblr post—now removed—before her suicide revealing that she struggled living with strict parents who were not receptive to her lifestyle and to losing friends.
She also felt making the full transgender transition was out of reach. After the time of Leelah’s suicide, “Orange Is The New Black” star Laverne Cox left a message of support.
“Your life mattered & we will not forget,” she tweeted. For the president’s part, this is third big move he’s made as president relating to the LGBT community.
During his first term, he sparked the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” military policy. Later on, in an interview with Robin Roberts, the president came out in support of same-sex marriage. And now, he is moving against the controversial therapy, which essentially uses a premise that being gay is a mental issue that can be reversed by specialty therapy.