Washington, April 9: US President Barack Obama has called for an end to the so-called conversion therapies designed to reverse homosexual orientation, often directed at youth within the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) community.
Obama's statement on Wednesday was in response to a petition, bearing 120,000 signatures collected over three months, requesting the president to address a possible ban on the controversial rehabilitation treatment, Efe news agency reported.
The petitioners cited the case of Leelah Alcom, a 17-year-old transgender youth who committed suicide in Ohio in December after being forced to undergo conversion therapy.
"Tonight, somewhere in America, a young person, let's say a young man, will struggle to fall to sleep, wrestling alone with a secret he's held as long as he can remember. Soon, perhaps, he will decide it's time to let that secret out," the president said in the statement.
"What happens next depends on him, his family, as well as his friends and his teachers and his community. But it also depends on us -- on the kind of society we engender, the kind of future we build," he added.
Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to the president and who also signed the statement, said, "this administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors".
"The overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrates that conversion therapy, especially when it is practiced on young people, is neither medically nor ethically appropriate and can cause substantial harm," declared the advisor.
Conversion therapies for members of the LGBT community are backed by several socially conservative and religious groups in the US.