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Indonesia doubles down on move to ban homosexuality and send ‘offenders’ to ‘rehab’ clinics

Vic Parsons March 3, 2020
Indonesia doubles down on sending LGBT+ ‘offenders’ to ‘rehab’ clinics

A group of Muslim protesters march against the LGBT+ community in Banda Aceh, 2017 (Chaideer Mahyuddin/AFP/Getty)

Indonesia is proposing legislation that would force LGBT+ people into treatment to “cure” their sexuality or gender identity.

The “Family Resilience Bill” would force LGBT+ people into government-sanctioned “rehabilitation centres”, which would give religiously-based “treatment” for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

A draft of the bill was introduced last month by three lawmakers in Indonesia’s house of representatives. As part of the proposed legislation, the government would open “rehabilitation centres” across the country.

The law would also mean that family members of LGBT+ people would be compelled to report them to authorities if they didn’t voluntarily submit to treatment.

The draft bill also says LGBT+ people are a “threat” to the traditional family structure and likens being gay to incest and sadomasochism.

Sodik Mujahid, a politician who supports the draft bill, told the Jakarta Post that being LGBT+ is not a “private matter” in Indonesia, unlike in “Western countries”.

Mujahid said: “The practice of homosexuality, does it not disrupt the future of mankind on a family basis?”

Homosexuality is not illegal in most parts of Indonesia but it is widely considered to be a taboo. Indonesian law does not protect the LGBT+ community against discrimination and hate crimes, which are common.

As the Muslim-majority country shifts towards greater conservatism, there has been a surge in anti-LGBT+ sentiment, fuelled in part by a strong public reaction to the conviction of Reynhard Sinaga in the UK.

LGBT+ advocacy groups say that the new law would have a serious impact on the LGBT+ community in Indonesia.

Jessica Stern, executive director of global LGBT+ campaign group OutRight Action International, said that the Family Resilience Bill would intensify the “mounting persecution and hate” Indonesian LGBT+ people face, and make them even more “vulnerable and isolated”.

Dede Oetomo, co-founder of the Indonesian LGBTQ group Gaya Nusantara Foundation, said that the draft bill is yet another attempt to target LGBT_ people after a failed attempt to criminalise homosexuality in the country two years ago.

According to Oetomo, the government is trying to create a “moral panic” about LGBT+ people.

“I have actually come across young mothers who are afraid their children will be transgender, gay or lesbian,” Oetomo said.

“They think if you sit with a trans kid in school, you’ll be trans — that it’s contagious.”

While the draft bill is still waiting to be formally introduced in the Indonesian Parliament, it’s already causing outrage among civil rights groups over it’s targeting of LGBT+ people and provisions regarding women, which it says must remain in the household to “fulfil the rights of the husband and children according to religious norms”.

 

More: conversion therapy, criminalising homosexuality, Gaya Nusantara Foundation, Indonesia, Jakarta Post, Sodik Mujahid

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