(Washington, DC, 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 LGBTQ 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 LGBTQ 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 LGBTQ 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 LGBTQ youth in out-of-home care, and ending conversion therapy through NCLR’s #BornPerfect™ campaign.
NCLR has been at the forefront of efforts to protect youth and their families from conversion therapy for more than two decades and, alongside the Human Rights Campaign and state equality groups, has helped pass legislation in California, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia. NCLR launched its #BornPerfect™ campaign last year to stop conversion therapy across the country by 2019 by passing laws, fighting in courtrooms, and raising awareness about the serious harms caused by attempts to change a young person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Learn more about the #BornPerfect™ campaign.