When Leelah Alcorn wrote her suicide note, she may have never imagined that her desperate situation would catch the attention of the President of the United States. But it has.
“On Sunday, December 27, 2014, Leelah Alcorn a 17 year old transgender youth wrote a suicide note, posted it on Tumblr and then walked in front of a semi-truck tragically ending her life. Leelah explained how her parents had forced her to attend conversion therapy, pulled her out of school and isolated her in an attempt to change her gender identity.”
Those words begin a petition on the official White House website that asks President Obama to remember Leelah Alcorn by helping push legislation against “conversion therapy.”
“‘Conversion therapies’ have been documented to cause great harms and in this case, Leelah’s death. 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. We respectfully seek your help to ban the practice known as ‘conversion therapy’ and name the bill in honor of Leelah Alcorn.”
That petition received 121,000 supporters. The White House has responded.
“We share your concern about its potentially devastating effects on the lives of transgender as well as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and queer youth.”
With those words, White House Senior Advisor Melanie Jarrett engaged the Obama Administration in a fight that is not likely to end soon, nor be simple.
“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.
“As part of our dedication to protecting America’s youth, this Administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors.”
Leelah Alcorn’s own words in her Reddit posts tell the tale of just this very kind of “therapy”.
“I wanted to see a gender therapist but they wouldn’t let me, they thought it would corrupt my mind. The would only let me see biased Christian therapists, who instead of listening to my feelings would try to change me into a straight male who loved God, and I would cry after every session because I felt like it was hopeless and there was no way I would ever become a girl.”
Now that the Obama Administration has responded to the outcry in the wake of Leelah Alcorn’s death, perhaps the fight to end “conversion therapy” is on.