Indonesia Parliament bill describes homosexuality as “sexual deviance”

Protesters hold an anti-LGBT rally outside a mosque in the provincial capital Banda Aceh, Aceh province, Indonesia on February 2, 2018. Antara Foto / Irwansyah Putra

A draft bill proposed by members of Indonesia’s House of Representatives defines homosexuality as “sexual deviance” and requires LGBT people to report to the authorities for “rehabilitation.”

Article 85 of the draft bill, according to The Jakarta Post, stipulates that a state body responsible for “family resilience” would be required to handle “family crises due to sexual deviation” through spiritual guidance and social, psychological and medical rehabilitation.

The bill defines sexual deviations as “urges to achieve sexual satisfaction through unusual and unreasonable ways, which include sadism, masochism, incest and homosexuality.”

Article 86 of the draft bill states: “Families experiencing crises due to sexual deviation are required to report their members to agencies handling family resilience or rehabilitation institutions to undergo treatment.”

The bill also requires adults experiencing “sexual deviation” to report to the authorities or relevant rehabilitation centres, which would be established by a state body responsible for family resilience.

Lawmaker 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 said on Tuesday, as quoted by kompas.com.

Sodik added that rehabilitation for homosexuals was based on the values of the state ideology Pancasila, which he said opposed homosexuality.

Sodik said the proposed bill aimed to provide protection and empowerment for families as the basic social unit. “Ethics, morals and behaviours start from families. That’s why we must strengthen families, including by protecting them from such things,” he said.

The bill has been included on Parliament’s priority list for the 2020-2024 period, although proponents have yet to discuss it with the government’s related ministries. Parties supporting President Joko Widodo currently control 74% of seats in Parliament so any bill would likely need government blessing to gain traction.

Indonesia has never criminalised homosexual conduct, although critics say a lack of legal protections for LGBT people has left them vulnerable.

According to human rights group Amnesty International, LGBT communities in Indonesia are facing increasing crackdowns from the authorities as the world’s most populous Muslim country moves towards “conservatism.”

“It’s a very patriarchal bill and it will set back progress in gender equality and women’s rights protection,” Usman Hamid of Amnesty International Indonesia told Reuters.

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