“As part of our dedication to protecting America’s youth, this Administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors,” Jarrett said in the White House statement.
“Conversion therapy generally refers to any practices by mental health providers that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity,” said the statement. “Often, this practice is used on minors, who lack the legal authority to make their own medical and mental health decisions. We share your concern about its potentially devastating effects on the lives of transgender as well as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and queer youth.”
Jarrett conceded in her statement that an act of Congress would be needed to pass a national law that prohibited parents from having their children be counselled to be heterosexual rather than what she called “LGBTQ+."
“While a national ban would require congressional action, we are hopeful that the clarity of the evidence combined with the actions taken by these states will lead to broader action that this Administration would support,” Jarrett said.
She suggested that parents disserve their children when they do not accept them as “LGTQ+.”
“Family relationships are pivotal to the physical and emotional well-being of any child, including LGBTQ+ youth,” she said. “Every child needs love, support, and acceptance to grow, dream, and thrive. LGBTQ+ youth with supportive families and friends show greater well-being, better general health, and significantly decreased risk for suicide, depression, and substance abuse.
“Countless families and guardians across the country proudly support their LGBTQ+ children,” Jarrett said. “Too many LGBTQ+ youth, however, lack this support system, which can have devastating consequences. Negative family reactions to LGBTQ+ youth can be perceived as rejection by children, often contributing to serious health issues and inhibiting a child’s development and well-being. And when it comes to LGBTQ+ youth, some actions by family and caregivers can be harmful, despite even the best intentions.
“This Administration,” she said, “believes that young people should be valued for who they are, no matter what they look like, where they’re from, the gender with which they identify, or who they love.”
Jarrett’s statement was preceded by a quotation from President Barack Obama describing a “young man” who is “wrestling with a secret.”
“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. 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.”
Jarrett’s statement was posted in response to a petition posted on the White House website in January that called for a “law to ban all LGBTQ+ conversion therapy." The petition had approximately 120,000 signers.