Gov. Walz has signed an executive order banning conversion therapy for minors making it the 21st state to ban the practice.

New legislation, proposed by Gov. Tim Walz, will ensure LGBTQ+ youth are protected from harmful conversion therapy practices.

While the executive order does not mean the dangerous activity is not banned statewide, it is expected to limit LGBTQ+ minors access to conversion therapy.

Conversion therapy is the practice of attempting to alter a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity through forms psychological and physical methods.

At its most extreme, it involves shock therapy where LGBTQ people are subjected to jolts of electricity while watching scenes of same-sex affection.

“This is a day that Minnesota says, ‘Bring your authentic self. You’ll be seen, heard, valued and loved in this state, and we want you to be whoever you are,'” Walz said at the signing ceremony of the order.

Adding, “We see you, we hear you, and we will make sure you are in a safe place to be who you are. And this law — this EO — will take one more step.”

The new executive order refers to conversion therapy as “a range of dangerous and discredited practices that falsely claim to change a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.”

It continues to debunk any beliefs around the practices and emphasises how conversation therapy causes harm to the LGBTQ+ community.

“The scientific, medical, and education communities overwhelmingly reject conversion therapy because it lacks scientific validation, poses dangerous health risks to the individuals and communities involved, and contributes to health and social inequities,” the order reads.

“Conversion therapy is especially concerning when used on minors and vulnerable adults. Our State strives to protect all Minnesotans, especially those whose ability to self-determine medical treatment is curtailed by existing law.

“Our State recognizes that discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and other protected class statuses threatens the rights and privileges of all Minnesotans and menaces the institutions and foundations of democracy.

“The opportunity to be free from discrimination is each Minnesotan’s civil right and is guaranteed by the Minnesota Human Rights Act (“MHRA”). Under the MHRA, discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and other protected class statuses is prohibited.”

Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David issued a statement in response to Gov. Tim Walz’s newly signed executive order.

“Thanks to today’s decisive action by Governor Tim Walz, LGBTQ young people in Minnesota will be safer, healthier, and more free to be who they are. No longer will any child in the state have to fear the specter of the dangerous and debunked practice of ‘conversion therapy,’ which has no place in Minnesota or anywhere in the United States,” said David.

“Governor Walz’s common sense Executive Order reflects best practice, expert medical voices and mountains of evidence demonstrating that the outcomes of ‘conversion therapy’ are devastating for youth. LGBTQ youth deserve to live their lives authentically​, safe from harm. Today, Minnesota has taken another step toward the promise of full equality for all.”

Nearly 700,000 adults in the United States have received conversion therapy at some point in their life in an attempt to ‘cure’ their homosexuality.

According to a study by the Williams Institute – a think tank on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy at UCLA – roughly half of that number received the so-called treatment as adolescents.

An estimated 20,000 LGBTQ youth between the ages of 13 to 17 will be subjected to conversion therapy from a licensed health care professional before they turn 18.

Moreover, around 57,000 youth will receive treatment from a religious or spiritual advisor.

“Many professional health associations and the public support ending the use of conversion therapy on LGBT youth,” said Christy Mallory, the state and local policy director at the Williams Institute and lead author of the study.

“Our research shows that laws banning conversion therapy could protect tens of thousands of teens from what medical experts say is a harmful and ineffective practice.”

Related: Ban Conversion Therapy co-founder: ‘What’s more threatening than telling someone they will spend an eternity in hell?’