President Barack Obama was moved by the transgendered girl who killed herself this past December. Leelah Alcorn, 17, posted a suicide note on her Tumblr explaining that religious therapists wanted her to go back to living as boy. After she posted the note she killed herself by walking in front of a trailer. Sadly, Alcorn’s story isn’t the first like this, but one of many. Obama  wants to end conversion therapy for minors. Conversion therapy is the practice of religious doctors trying to change people from being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. As it can be seen by Alcorn, these practices are dangerous.

There was a petition created in response to have these conversion therapies banned. The petition has received more than 120,000 signatures in three months. There will be no federal ban on the conversion therapy, but Obama would like to ban it on the state level. This is not Obama’s first battle towards gay rights during his time as president. He started with the ban on the military’s policy of “don’t ask don’t tell,” where gay military would have to hide their sexuality from everybody else. They did not want to be thrown out of the military, so they hid, but now they can be open and honest about their sexuality while still being able to serve.

There have also been the creation of the “all gender bathroom” where any gender can use the particular bathroom. This gives transgender people a safer environment and won’t have to feel uncomfortable by choosing a bathroom. Also, in the President’s last State of the Union Address the words lesbian and bisexual were used for the first time, opening up the conversation on sexual orientation and identity.

However, the people who believe in these therapies will not just let this ban happen. They do not believe that sexual orientation and identity is something one is just born with. They feel as though that people can get rid of those thoughts and feelings for good with a little therapy. The people who believe in this therapy believe that it works. Some have said that the therapy works and that these people used to be gay, but are now heterosexual.

What Obama wants to do is to make sure no minor is forced into these conversation therapies. Adults can do the therapies, they can make the choice themselves if they want to go and change. Forcing a minor to go does not give them that choice to decide if that is what they want. Maybe they accepted that they are gay or transgender and don’t want people telling them they are wrong. At adolescence this is the time when a person starts to figure out who they are. They need to do it themselves, so sending them to these therapies can lead to what happened to Alcorn. Both sides can probably agree that they do not want anymore young people committing suicide.

Photo Via flickr/ Anna

 

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