Conversion Therapy

by Bradford Greer.

“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.”

With this statement President Barack Obama threw his support behind a White House petition to end conversion or reparative therapy on gay, lesbian, and transgender youth.

Over four decades ago the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder and has since opposed any psychiatric treatment used under the guise of repairing an individual’s sexual orientation. Currently, only California, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia have laws against using conversion therapy on minors. Only 18 other states have introduced legislation at this time. The President has indicated that his administration would support a national ban, which would require an act of Congress.

The bill would be named Leelah’s Law after Leelah Alcorn, the 17 year-old transgender youth who committed suicide two days after Christmas 2014. Her parents isolated her and forced her into conversion therapy in an attempt to change her gender identity. It was Leelah’s tragic story that prompted President Obama to come forward with his public support.