Obama Calls for End to Gay ‘Conversion’ Therapy for Youth

President Barack Obama is calling for an end to psychiatric therapy treatments aimed at changing the sexual orientation or gender identity of gay, lesbian and transgender youth.

The move comes in response to an online petition posted on the White House website following the death of 17-year-old Leelah Alcorn. The transgender teen committed suicide in December and left behind a note saying her parents had forced her to attend so-called conversion therapy.

In a statement late Wednesday, White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said the administration supports banning the practice for minors.

“We share your concern about its potentially devastating effects on the lives of transgender as well as gay, lesbian, bisexual and queer youth,” Jarrett said. “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.”