Actress Hilary Swank attends The 35 Most Powerful People In Media celebrated by The Hollywood Reporter at Four Seasons Restaurant, April 8, 2015, in New York.
camera (Neilson Barnard/Getty Images) Actress Hilary Swank attends The 35 Most Powerful People In Media celebrated by The Hollywood Reporter at Four Seasons Restaurant, April 8, 2015, in New York.

It has been 15 years since Hilary Swank won an Oscar for playing murdered transgender teen Brandon Teena in "Boys Don't Cry."

But the 40-year-old actress, who recently received a GLAAD award and Outfest award for her work in the 1999 film, says society still has far to go toward accepting transgender people.

"I think we have taken strides since that movie, like you said 15 years ago," she told Meredith Vieira in an interview to be broadcast on her show today. "We have a long way to go."

She continued, "It's astonishing to me that we are here in 2015 and there are so many issues that need to be looked at and handled and we shouldn't dictate who people should love. Let people love people."

Swank's statement was echoed by the Obama White House Wednesday night.

In a post on the White House website, senior adviser Valerie Jarrett wrote, "This administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors," referring to a technique used by some mental health providers to try to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

The post came in response to a petition on WhiteHouse.gov calling for a ban on "conversion therapy" after the suicide of a 17-year-old transgender youth named Leelah Alcorn. Alcorn wrote a suicide note and posted it to Tumblr before walking in front of a semi-truck, ending her life in December at age 17.

The petition said, "Leelah explained how her parents had forced her to attend conversion therapy, pulled her out of school and isolated her in an attempt to change her identity."