Leelah's law Change.org petition receives 233K signatures in two - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Leelah's law Change.org petition receives 233K signatures in two days

This photo was posted on Leelah's tumblr (Photo: lazerprincess.tumblr.com) This photo was posted on Leelah's tumblr (Photo: lazerprincess.tumblr.com)
(FOX19) - Change.org petition asking to ban transgender conversion therapy following Leelah Alcorn's death has received more than 233,000 signatures in two days.

[Related: Local teen's death sparks worldwide transgender discussion]

The Transgender Human Rights Institute posted the petition on Dec. 31 asking President Barack Obama and the leadership of the House and Senate to begin the process of banning transgender conversion therapy throughout the nation.

"'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," reads the petition. 

The American Psychological Association defines conversion therapy as "counseling and psychotherapy to attempt to eliminate individuals' sexual desires for members of their own sex."

The Change.org petition also mentions a council policy dated August 2008 in which the American Psychological Association addressed the issue of discriminatory therapies:

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

Leelah died on Interstate 71 on Dec. 28 after being stuck by a truck. Final results will be released once toxicology results are back, but the Warren County Coroner's Office says Leelah's death was likely a suicide.

Alcorn's death sparked conversation on social media when it was revealed that she kept a blog on Tumblr, detailing her experience as a transgender teen. The blog, which has since been removed from Tumblr, also contained her suicide note.  

“I feel like a girl trapped in a boy's body, and I've felt that way ever since I was 4,” one of the posts read.

In an interview with CNN, Carla Alcorn, Leelah's mother, said her 'son' was depressed and received medication from counselors and a psychiatrist. 

However, in Leelah's note, she says she never truly got the help she needed.

"My mom started taking me to a therapist, but would only take me to christian therapists, (who were all very biased) so I never actually got the therapy I needed to cure me of my depression," the post read. "I only got more Christians telling me that I was selfish and wrong and that I should look to God for help."

As of 10:30 p.m. Friday, the petition had 233,000 signatures. The creators are aiming for 300,000.

A Leelah's law petition is also posted on the official White House 'We The People' page, which ensures that, if a topic gets enough attention, the White House will look into it and issue an official response. 

That petition currently has 2,232 signatures. The creators of that one hope to reach 100,000 by Jan. 30.

A few hundred people turned out Friday in Columbus to hold a vigil for Alcorn. 

Tom Morgan organized the vigil.  He wants conversion therapy banned, blaming the practice for leading to suicides for people like Alcorn.

"She was 17-years-old and now she's gone because of the way society views her and the feelings of not having enough support," Morgan said.

But, Florida based Liberty Counsel, a religious freedom group says banning conversion therapy isn't the answer.

"They have a fundamental right to direct the upbringing and education of their child and that involves seeking counseling from professionals who are the best equipped and trained to assist their child to live consistently with their sincerely held religious beliefs," said Daniel Schmid, Litigation Counsel.

"The notion that parents are subjecting a child is offensive to counselors and it's also not consistent with the vast majority of people who seek this counseling anyway," Schmid said.

Schmid says the government has no right to tell counselors how to counsel, making petitions to ban conversion therapy useless.

"Conversion therapy--I agree definitely needs to be outlawed. But, furthermore, I think that people need to stop using religion as an excuse to prevent their children from being who they are," said Courtney Taylor, an Alcorn supporter.

California and New Jersey have passed conversion therapy bans

Kings High School will hold a vigil Saturday at 5:30 p.m. for Leelah. 

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