You may have heard the recent story about Leelah Alcorn, a 17-year old girl of transgender experience, who ended her life in December. In her suicide note (which she posted to Tumblr), Leelah said that her parents refused to accept her gender identity and took her to therapists who told her that her desire to transition was “selfish.”
It’s simply horrific that, in America, these practices exist – practices that deny young people their true identities and, in many cases, their futures. However, change is happening. Last month, the District of Columbia Council approved a bill to ban so-called “gay-conversion therapy” in our nation’s capitol. Here’s what you need to know:
- Conversion therapy refers to efforts by mental health providers “to change behaviors, gender identity or expression, or to reduce or eliminate sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward a person of the same sex or gender.”
- Conversion therapy has been discredited time and time again. It is the consensus of every major medical and mental health organization that such practices are highly detrimental to the mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth.
- D.C. council members voted unanimously to ban this dangerous practice.
- When the bill is signed into law, Washington, D.C. will join California and New Jersey as the third jurisdiction to pass legislation protecting youth from conversion therapy.
To learn more about the effort to end gay conversion therapy nationwide, checkout the National Center for Lesbian Rights’ #BornPerfect campaign.
Join us on Facebook and Twitter in celebrating D.C.’s success and calling for a national end to this harmful practice.