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Indonesia classifies homosexuality as a ‘mental disorder’ ahead of banning gay sex

Joseph McCormick February 3, 2018
A group of Muslim protesters march with banners against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Banda Aceh on Decmber 27, 2017

Payakumbuh lawmakers have drafted revisions to a law to stop the "deviant behaviour" of gay sex from spreading (CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN/AFP/Getty)

Indonesia has classified homosexuality as a “mental disorder”, as a bill to criminalise gay sex is introduced in the country’s parliament.

The country’s Health Ministry on Friday said it was set to publish a medical guide based on two reports from the past two years.

One of the reports, published in 2016 by the Indonesia Psychiatrists Association (PDSKJI).

An extract from the PDSKJI’s report reads: “Gays and bisexuals were at risk of emotional problems such as depression owing to identity crises while transsexuals are susceptible to mental diseases.”

The second report was published in 2017 by the Health Ministry.

That report claims that “homosexuality was against the ethos of the country”.

Currently, homosexuality is legal in Indonesia, except for the Aceh province, where Sharia law is enforced.

But if a new bill is passed in the country’s parliament, gay sex could become illegal across the entire country.

The law could pass in the next two weeks.

The bill, which reportedly has support from all 10 of the country’s main political parties, would make gay sex punishable by up to five years in prison.

The Indonesian Supreme Court narrowly blocked a similar measure from passing last month, but it seems that was only a temporary reprieve.

BANDA ACEH, INDONESIA - MAY 23: An indonesian man escorted by the sharia police after get caning in public from an executor known as 'algojo' for having gay sex, which is against Sharia law at Syuhada mosque on May 23, 2017 in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. The two young gay men, aged 20 and 23, were caned 85 times each in the Indonesian province of Aceh during a public ceremony after being caught having sex last week. It was the first time gay men have been caned under Sharia law as gay sex is not illegal in most of Indonesia except for Aceh, which is the only province which exercises Islamic law. The punishment came a day after the police arrested 141 men at a sauna in the capital Jakarta on Monday due to suspicion of having a gay sex party, the latest crackdown on homosexuality in the country. (Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images)
Indonesian man escorted after public caning for having gay sex (Getty)

The bill could pass as soon as Valentine’s Day, according to Kate Walton, an LGBT activist in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, who was speaking to ABC in Australia.

Arsul Sani, the secretary general of the PPP Party, helped to create the new criminal code.

Indonesian men arrested
(Getty)

He said: “It applies to people of the same gender who have sex, which is basically a forbidden act.

“It’s considered the same as adultery, where men and women having sex outside marriage can be considered a crime.”

The news comes just days after Indonesian police arrested 12 transgender women in Aceh and shaved their heads in an effort “to turn them into men”.

(YouTube/LOE TUBE)

Aceh is the only part of the Muslim-majority country where gay sex is already illegal, as the region has Shariah law, having won this concession from the government as part of a 2005 autonomy deal.

The raid on salons was called “operasi penyakit masyarakat,” which translates as “community sickness operation”.

The police chief in Aceh said his officers also humiliated the trans women “by way of having them run for some time and telling them to chant loudly until their male voices came out.”

Gay hook-up apps have also been pulled from the Google Play Store in Indonesia amid a government crackdown on the LGBT community.

(YouTube/LOE TUBE)

Andreas Harsono of Human Rights Watch said the new law “will create new discriminatory offences that do not exist in the current criminal code.

“It will slow down Indonesia’s efforts to develop their economy, society, knowledge [and] education … if law enforcement agencies are busy policing morality.

“It’s sounding like the Acehnese sharia code,” he added, according to Reuters.

(YouTube/LOE TUBE)

In May, two men were caned 83 times in Aceh as a legal punishment for having gay sex.

The 20 and 23-year-old, identified only by their initials – MH and MT – were the first to be sentenced to punishment for gay sex in the region.

Indonesian men facing lashes
(Getty)

The father of one of the men, who requested anonymity, said that he was unaware that his son was not straight before he was arrested.

“This is an ordeal for our family,” the father said.

Indonesian gay man gets caned
Indonesian gay man gets caned for having sex (Getty)

“After this problem is resolved, we will send him to an Islamic boarding school to be educated so he won’t be deviant anymore.”

Amnesty International has repeatedly urged Indonesia to stop its horrific treatment of LGBT people in Aceh.

Indonesian Muslim protestors of Muslim organization 'Hizbuth Tahrir' hold a banner reading, 'Forbidden, Crime and Disgusting' refering to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transexual associations during a protest against an eventual meeting on the issue in Surabaya on March 26, 2010. Indonesian police said on March 24, they will not issue a permit for an international gay and transgender group to convene a regional conference because of fears it could incite unrest. The international lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex association (ILGA) was scheduled to meet from 26 - 28 March in the world's most populous Muslim country. AFP PHOTO / MUHAMMAD RISYAL HIDAYAT (Photo credit should read MUHAMMAD RISYAL HIDAYAT/AFP/Getty Images)
(Getty)

A report alleged that there had been attempts to ‘cover up’ the anti-LGBT oppression in the region by moving the floggings away from the public eye.

But it’s not just in Aceh where LGBT Indonesians suffer.

Indonesian Gay Couple
(Getty)

The caning punishment came the day after 141 men were arrested in Jakarta, the capital, for having a “gay sex party”.

And earlier that same month, eight men were arrested for holding a “gay party” in Surabaya, the second biggest city in Indonesia.

GiveOut is aiming to eliminate the violence in countries where the LGBTQI community is not accepted (Photo credit should read CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN/AFP/Getty Images)
(Getty)

It was also announced that the country’s government would clamp down on gay culture – instituting a ban on online “gay propaganda” after a request from the police.

Last year, Indonesian lawmakers gave the green light to a proposed law that would outlaw ‘LGBT behaviours’ on television.

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