Gay conversion ‘therapy’ for minors has been banned in Puerto Rico.

Ricardo Rosselló, governor of the country, tweeted a photo of himself on Wednesday (27 March) signing an executive order which bans the harmful practice, which he says “causes unnecessary harm and suffering” to LGBTQ people.

The so-called therapy, which has been discredited by the NHS and the World Psychiatric Association, refers to any attempt at changing a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity, and often involves techniques like electroshock therapy or prayer.

“Today we sign an executive order that prohibits conversion or restrictive therapies to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of minors,” Rosselló wrote.

“These therapies lack a scientific basis and, in addition, cause unnecessary harm and suffering to LGBT people.”

Rosselló announced his decision to ban the practice last week, shortly after a bill on the matter was blocked in the House of Representatives. Now, it’s signed into law.

“We commend Governor Rosselló for his leadership in issuing this order to protect LGBTQ minors in Puerto Rico,” said Human Rights Campaign Senior Legislative Counsel Xavier Persad.

“The dangerous and debunked practice of so-called ‘conversion therapy’ not only doesn’t work – it can have life-threatening consequences. This is why it has been condemned by every major medical association in our country.

“Puerto Rico now joins 15 other states and the District of Columbia in protecting LGBTQ minors from this despicable practice and sending a message that these youth should be affirmed and embraced.”

Sam Brinton, Head of Advocacy and Government Affairs for The Trevor Project, added: “We are grateful for Gov. Ricardo A. Rosselló for taking decisive action to protect LGBTQ youth from conversion therapy.

“LGBTQ youth in crisis reach out to us every day, including young people from Puerto Rico, and this action will undoubtedly save young LGBTQ lives.”