A passerby hugs an LGBT activist in Jakarta / Jakarta Post/Seto Wardhana
While Australia and other Western countries debate bans on LGBT conversion therapy, Indonesia is thinking of mandating it.
A bill is being studied by the Indonesian Parliament to strengthen families facing crisis situations like financial difficulties, job demands, divorce, chronic disease, death – or “sexual deviance”. It would force LGBT people to undergo "rehabilitation".
Derided as “the bedroom bill”, it defines sexual deviation as “urges to achieve sexual satisfaction through unusual and unreasonable ways, which include sadism, masochism, incest and homosexuality.”
According to the Jakarta Post, the bill says that “Families experiencing crises due to sexual deviation are required to report their members to agencies handling family resilience or rehabilitation institutions to undergo treatment”.
Government and regional authorities would be tasked with protecting families from physical and non-physical threats, including “individualism, secularism, casual sex propaganda, as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender propaganda.”
Sodik Mujahid, one of the bill’s proponents, said LGBT behaviour should be reported for treatment because it would disrupt the future of the mankind. “Let’s look at it more fundamentally. The practice of homosexuality for example – does it not disrupt the future of mankind on a family basis?” he told kompas.com.
Sodik argued that the provision on rehabilitation for homosexuals was based on the values of Pancasila, Indonesia’s state ideology. “I think Pancasila has a different measure of what constitutes private and national matters. Maybe in Western countries this is a private matter. However, it’s not private when it comes to Pancasila,” he said.
Sodik said all the items in the proposed bill aimed to provide protection and empowerment for families as the basic social unit. “Ethics, morals and behavior start from families. That’s why we must strengthen families, including by protecting them from such things,” he said.
Puan Maharani, Indonesia's parliamentary speaker, has criticised the bill, stating that it is "too interventionist" and "too intrusive" into people's private lives.
While homosexuality is not illegal in most of Indonesia, some LGBT people have been publicly shamed by authorities; others have been charged under an anti-pornography law.
Michael Cook is editor of BioEdge
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