Last week US President Barack Obama issued a statement calling for an end of the use of conversion therapy for LGBTI minors. Now, six White House staffers – some straight, some LGBT – are also calling for an end to the dangerous, widely debunked practice of conversion therapy.
The video, which was posted by The White House on YouTube, features Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President; Jay Davis, Advisor for Digital Strategy and Engagement, Environmental Protection Agency; Yohannes Abraham, Special Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff for the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs; Amanda Simpson, Executive Director, Army Office of Energy Initiatives; Megan Smith, Chief Technology Officer of the United States; and Douglas Brooks, Director of the Office of National AIDS Policy.
Conversion therapy can be called many things – we used to call things like this “brainwashing” or “reprogramming.” It’s all about making people conform to the way things are. But if society is to grow, we need to move beyond the way things are, to the way things should be – the way things ought to be.”
In response to an online petition calling for a ban on conversion therapies, which had gained over 120,000 signatures in three months, Obama said in a statement urging states to ban therapies that attempt to change the sexual orientation of gay, lesbian and transgender youth.
Although the petition called on Obama to support a federal ban, the president has said he’ll instead call for state action.
The petition was inspired by Leelah Alcorn, a 17-year-old transgender youth who committed suicide in December after attending conversion therapy.
Mental health groups and gay rights activists say such therapy can increase the risk of depression or suicide.
US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy on Friday during a town hall discussion on Tumblr also weighed in, opposing conversion therapy.
Conversion therapy is not sound medical practice. Moreover, we all need to work together to build greater understanding and acceptance throughout our society. Doctors can and should be part of that effort.”
The US states of California and New Jersey have banned the practices targeting LGBTI youths whilreother states such as Oklahoma are considering legislation to protect the therapies from legal challenges.