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Indonesia declares homosexuality a ‘mental disorder’

Indonesia declares homosexuality a ‘mental disorder’

A person who is completely covered holds a cane up and is preparing to hit another person dressed in all white on a stage in front of hundreds of onlookers

Indonesia’s Ministry of Health has just declared homosexuality a mental disorder with advocates worried it could strengthen the case for politicians wanting to criminalize homosexuality.

On Friday (2 February) the Ministry announced it would add homosexuality to a list of mental disorders in a new medical guide it planned to publish.

The announcement came just days before the Indonesian parliament will vote on proposed amendments to the Criminal Code.

Some of those amendments include a code to criminalize homosexuality.

Indonesia’s Health Ministry said it made the decision to classify homosexuality as a mental disorder based on two reports.

The Indonesian Psychiatrists Association (PDSKJI) released one of the cited reports in 2016.

The Health Ministry produced the second report itself after consulting with other Ministries. The Ministry of Religion was one of those consulted and concluded that homosexuality is against the ethos of Indonesia.

PDSKJI’s report concluded gay, lesbian and bisexual people suffer from identity crises and are therefore are at higher risk of mental health issues. It also said trans people are ‘susceptible to mental diseases’, according to a report in EFE.

Gay as a crime

In 1992 the World Health Organization declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder.

Homosexuality in not illegal in Indonesia, except in the Islamic province of Aceh which follows Sharia Law.

But over the past two years there has been a clampdown and rising persecution of the LGBTI community in Indonesia.

In 2017 there were multiple police raids of saunas, nightclubs and private hotel rooms of allegedly gay men.

In West Java, police set up a special taskforce to monitor the LGBTI community and in that same province 12 suspected lesbian were evicted from their homes.

The LGBTI community in Aceh faces a decidedly tougher time than the rest of Indonesia. Last year, two men were caned 82 times after being convicted of being gay and having homosexual relations.

In the past week, Aceh has been the focus of international attention after 12 trans women were rounded up. They had their heads forcibly shaved and were ‘coached’ into acting like men again by local police.