On Sunday, December 27, 2014, Leelah Alcorn a 17 year old transgender youth wrote a suicide note, posted it on Tumblr and then walked out to a highway and out in front of a semi-truck tragically ending her life. In her last post, 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. One of the last things Leelah wrote is as follows:
“My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who commit suicide this year. I want someone to look at that number and say “that’s fucked up” and fix it. Fix society. Please.“ -Leelah Alcorn
In the pursuit of honoring Leelah’s last request we the petitioners call upon the President of the United State- Barack Obama, and the Leadership of the House and Senate to immediately seek a pathway for banning the practice known as ‘transgender conversion therapy’. We ask that you name the bill in memory of Leelah as the Leelah’s Alcorn Law and protect the lives of transgender youth.
‘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 childs gender identity are seriously unethical and legislation is needed to end such practices immediately. Transgender youth have one of the highest suicide rates in the nation. We must not allow therapists to increase those rates with therapy methodologies that have been demonstrated in harming trasngender youth.
All major psychological associations speak to the heart of harms that can happen to transgender youth when attempting to discriminate and change their gender identity.
From the American Association of Pediatrics
“According to the study, “Characteristics of Children and Adolescents with Gender Identity Disorder Referred to a Pediatric Medical Center,” in the March 2012 Pediatrics (published online Feb. 20), gender-dysphoric children who do not receive medical treatment or counseling for GID can be at high-risk for certain behavioral and emotional problems, including psychiatric diagnoses. Of 97 patients younger than 21 years who met the criteria for GID, 44 percent had a prior history of psychiatric symptoms, 37 percent were taking psychotropic medications, and 21.6 percent had a history of self-mutilation and suicide attempts.”
From the American Psychological Association:
“APA calls upon psychologists in their professional roles to provide appropriate, nondiscriminatory treatment to transgender and gender variant individuals and encourages psychologists to take a leadership role in working against discrimination towards transgender and gender variant individuals.”
From the National Association of Social Workers:
“People seek mental health services for many reasons. Accordingly, it is fair to assert that lesbians and gay men seek therapy for the same reasons that heterosexual people do. However, the increase in media campaigns, often coupled with coercive messages from family and community members, has created an environment in which lesbians and gay men often are pressured to seek reparative or conversion therapies, which cannot and will not change sexual orientation. Aligned with the American Psychological Association’s (1997) position, NCLGB believes that such treatment potentially can lead to severe emotional damage. “
From the American Counseling Association:
Standard A.1.a. (“Primary Responsibility”), states that “the primary responsibility of counselors is to respect the dignity and to promote the welfare of clients.” Referring a client to a counselor who engages in a treatment modality not endorsed by the profession and that may, in fact, cause harm does not promote the welfare of clients and is a dubious position ethically. This position is supported by Standard A.4.a. (“Avoiding Harm”), which says, “Counselors act to avoid harming their clients, trainees and research participants and to minimize or to remedy unavoidable or unanticipated harm.”
Please consider sharing and signing this petition. Together we can make the world a safer place for transgender youth everywhere.