White House Calls on States to Protect LGBT Youth from Conversion Therapy

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 10, 2015)—Today, Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., the United States Surgeon General, joined a growing chorus of high-profile advocates looking to support LGBT youth and put an end to the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy. His statement comes two days after the White House released a statement in response to a petition prompted by the death of Leelah Alcorn, a transgender teenager from Kings Mills, Ohio, who took her own life in December 2014 after facing years of rejection and enduring conversion therapy.

In a statement presented by White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett on April 8, the White House called for state and federal action to protect minors from conversion therapy. Today, on a call with petition signatories, the Surgeon General weighed in as well: “Being gay is not a disorder. Being transgender is not a malady that requires a cure. Had I been Leelah Alcorn’s physician, I would have told her exactly that. And that’s the message I want other doctors, nurses, health professionals, and public health leaders to help get out to parents and children who may be confronting these issues.”

National Center for Lesbian Right’s (NCLR) #BornPerfect Campaign Coordinator and Staff Attorney Sam Ames said: “Yesterday, the President of the United States send a clear message to LGBT youth all across the country: You matter. Today, the Surgeon General sent them another message: You are not broken. Tonight, an LGBTQ child who has been trapped in the closet for as long as they can remember will draw on the courage of our nation’s highest leaders and experts to declare who they are, with the full support of their President, their Surgeon General, and their country behind them. And it will be clearer than ever that what that child needs, what all children need, is to be accepted, supported, and loved for exactly who they are.”

NCLR started its Youth Project more than two decades ago to ensure the safety and well-being of LGBT youth at home, in school, and in public systems of care through litigation, policy advocacy, and systemic reform. The project prioritizes full integration and affirmation of transgender youth, fair and equal treatment of LGBT youth in out-of-home care, and ending conversion therapy through NCLR’s #BornPerfect™ campaign.

Born Perfect is a survivor-led campaign to end conversion therapy created by The National Center for Lesbian Rights, a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.