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Over 200,000 people demand Obama enacts ‘Leelah’s Law’ to protect trans youth

Over 200,000 people demand Obama enacts ‘Leelah’s Law’ to protect trans youth

Over 240,000 people are calling on US president Barack Obama to enact a law protecting transgender youth from conversion therapy.

The petition on Change.org is called ‘Enact Leelah’s Law to Ban Transgender Conversion Therapy,’ and is addressed to Obama, senator Harry Reid and representative Nancy Pelosi.

17-year-old Leelah Alcorn died in a suspected suicide after walking into traffic. Before her death, she posted a suicide note on her Tumblr account. 

‘If you are reading this, it means that I have committed suicide and obviously failed to delete this post from my queue,’ read her note.

Her death has seen a flurry of debate around transgender youth and how they are treated.

In Alcorn’s Tumblr account, she also wrote about how her parents forced her into conversion therapy which contributed to her suicide.

‘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’,’ reads the petition.

‘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 child’s 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 transgender youth.’

The petition also contains quotes supporting the cause from the American Association of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association and the National Association of Social Workers.

This is the second petition created in the wake of Leelah’s death.

Due to her parents, particularly her mother, repeatedly referring to her as a boy and refusing to use female pronouns, a petition was created to make sure the correct name was placed on her tombstone. It currently has over 76,000 signatures. 

Her mother has received a great deal of criticism, most notably from Dan Savage, for the way she has spoken about Leelah since her death.

Most recently, Leelah’s Tumblr account has been erased, much to the outcry of transgender supporters and those who feel her final words should be kept for all to see.