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Obama: End gay 'conversion' therapy

US president Barack Obama has called for an end to therapies aimed at changing the sexual orientation or gender identity of gay, lesbian and transgender youth.

In a statement posted on the White House website, Mr Obama's senior adviser Valerie Jarrett says the so-called conversion therapies have a "potentially devastating effect" on young people.

Scientific evidence shows the practices are "neither medically nor ethically appropriate",l she adds.

Ms Jarrett's statement comes in response to an online petition asking the White House to ban the therapies, created after the death of 17-year-old Leelah Alcorn, who wrote in a suicide note that her parents had forced her to attend conversion therapy.

The executive director of the National Centre for Transgender Equality, Mara Keisling, welcomed the president's statement.

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