LGBT Activists Want Obama to Ban Christian Therapy for Teens Who Struggle With Gender Identity, Same-Sex Attraction

Leelah Alcorn was born as Josh Alcorn. She took her life on Sunday, December 28, 2014.
Leelah Alcorn was born as Josh Alcorn. She took her life on Sunday, December 28, 2014. | (Photo: Facebook/Leelah Alcorn)

A petition posted on a White House website calling for a national ban on what LGBT activists call transgender "conversion therapy" has garnered the necessary number of signatures to be guaranteed a response from the Obama administration.

Created in response to a transgender youth's suicide, the petition was posted on the administration's "We the People" website in January and has garnered over 109,000 signatures.

The petition claims that "Therapists that engage in the attempt to brainwash or reverse any child's 'gender identity' or 'sexual orientation' are seriously unethical and legislation is needed to end such practices that are resulting in LGBTQ+ deaths."

A 2003 study conducted in Sweden, however, reveals that transexuals who change their gender through body mutilation or hormone therapy have a higher suicide rate than the general population.

The study, which followed 191 male-to-female gender reassignments and 133 female-to-male gender reassignments from 1973-2003, found that suicide attempts and in-patient psychiatic treatment actually increased in Sweden among those who had a sex change.

In December Josh Alcorn, who took the name Leelah and opted to identify as female, committed suicide by reportedly jumping in front of a tractor trailer.

Leelah left a suicide note arguing that he decided to take his own life due to the rejection from parents and undergoing attempted treatment for transgenderism.

"My mom started taking me to a therapist, but would only take me to Christian therapists (who were all very biased) so I never actually got the therapy I needed to cure me of my depression," read the suicide note.

"They wanted me to be their perfect little straight Christian boy, and that's obviously not what I wanted."

Carla Alcorn, the mother of Leelah, told CNN in an interview that she did not support transgender identity on religious grounds, but still loved her son.

"But we told him that we loved him unconditionally. We loved him no matter what. I loved my son. People need to know that I loved him. He was a good kid, a good boy," said Alcorn.

Titled "Enact Leelah's Law to Ban All LGBTQ+ Conversion Therapy," the We the People petition steadily gained signatories throughout the month of January.

By mid-January, the petition had garnered over 62,000 names, gathering support as various LGBT activist groups held events in remembrance of Leelah.

The author of the We the People petition hailed from Princeton, New Jersey, which along with California and the District of Columbia, bans sexual orientation conversion therapy for minors.

Many states have rejected similar measures, usually on the grounds of concerns over parental rights, patient rights, and matters of religious conscience.

Regarding California's ban on gay conversion therapy for minors, the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality denounced the measure.

"NARTH is saddened but not surprised by this unprecedented legislative intrusion and will lend its full support to the legal efforts to overturn it," read the statement by NARTH. "Anecdotal stories of harm are no basis from which to ban an entire form of psychological care. If they were, the psychological professions would be completely out of business."

According to the We the People website, if a petition garners over 100,000 signatures in a month's time it is guaranteed an official response from the administration. However, the guaranteed reply does not have a timetable, as noted by the many petitions on the website that have gathered over 100,000 names yet wait for months or more for an official response.

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