Authorities in major Indonesian cities want to exorcise LGBTI people of their behaviors using some unconventional methods.
Indonesia’s almost three-year long crackdown on the LGBTI community has intensified over the past couple of months, especially in the West Java region. Police have detained 16 people there since October. Earlier this week, a gang of dozens of men brutally assaulted two trans women in West Java.
Even though homosexuality or being transgender is not illegal in Indonesia authorities are labelling them as ‘social sickness’ which give police powers to arrest LGBTI people. Once arrested, people must agree to training to ‘cleanse’ them of being LGBTI.
Female genies and exorcism
But now authorities in cities such as Padang, want to use exorcism as a way of expelling LGBTI behaviors from people.
‘Usually these (gay) men are possessed by female genies, this is what many of us have found with LGBT perpetrators,’ said Lucky Abdul Hayyi, a member of Padang’s Majelis Mujahidin (Mujahidin Council).
He told Indonesian news outlet Covesia that he was one of two ormas (exorcists) the local government was working with.
‘In addition, the waria (trans women) will also be fostered by the military. Hopefully in the near future this program can implemented in the city of Padang,’ he said.
Padang’s Social Service Agency, Amasrul, had handed over 16 suspected LGBTI people to psychologists for treatment. But that is not better than facing exorcism because the Indonesian Psychiatrists Association classified homosexuality as a mental disorder.
Amasrul also commissioned Lucky and other ormas to perform the exorcisms.
The concept that female genies posses LGBTI people is steeped in Islamic Indonesian lore. The female genies (djinn) are seen as supernatural beings in Islamic mythology. Religious organizations offer cures for the LGBTI behavior according to Coconuts Jakarta.
Often these ‘cures’ involve being beaten, bathed in holy water, being prayed over and read verses from the Quran – the Islamic holy book.