Stop conversion therapy, start trans acceptance

Art By: Bailey Land
Art By: Bailey Land

Leelah Alcorn was a 17-year-old transgender girl who committed suicide. This story gained attention in the national media because of a note left on her personal blog in which she wrote that she blamed her depression on her parents for having sent her to conversion therapy.

Conversion therapy is a form of therapy that attempts to “fix” or change LGBT+ people and make them straight or cisgender (not transgender). It is cruel and mentally damaging because it implies that LGBT+ people are wrong and can be changed.

The National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force found that around 41 percent of trans people attempt suicide at some point in their lives, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychiatric Association and the National Association of Social Workers have made statements against LGBT+ reparative therapy.

Many people have started petitions on websites such as and the White House petition site to enact Leelah’s Law, which would outlaw LGBT+ conversion therapy nationwide. I feel that Leelah died because of lack of acceptance for who she was, and this law would help stop that from happening. Parents of LGBT+ children need to realize that actions like conversion therapy could be considered abusive and the legal system needs to be set up in such a way that proper punishments can be enforced. If parents aren’t held accountable, then we risk continued mistreatment of children, especially LGBT+ kids.

In her suicide note, Leelah said that the conversion therapy made her hate herself: Leelah was told that “[she] was selfish and wrong and that [she] should look to God for help.”

While parents who subject their children to conversion therapy may think they are doing what is best for their children, the emotional impact of this process may in fact damage an individual’s self-concept beyond repair.

No child should be denied the right to be who they are. No child should ever feel the need to take their own life because they are not accepted in their own home.