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Indonesia mulls bill to make LGBTQ people go to “rehabilitation centers” for conversion therapy

A man cries in conversion therapy.
Photo: Shutterstock

Indonesia is currently considering the Family Resilience bill, proposed legislation that calls homosexuality a form of “sexual deviation” and compares it to incest and sadomasochism.

The bill would make LGBTQ citizens report to government-run treatment “rehabilitation centers” for “treatment.” Also known as conversion therapy, the practice is a widely debunked form of psychological torture that purports to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity, according to a draft of the bill reviewed by Reuters.

Related: Indonesia tests school teachers to make sure they’re not too gay or LGBTQ-friendly

The bill would also hand down seven-year prison sentences for surrogacy, arrangements where one person agrees to carry a child to term for another person or could who then become the newborn’s parents.

The bill defines a family as a heterosexual married couple and their children, and says that women must “take care of household-related matters” and “treat the husband and the child well.”

Ledia Hanifa of the Muslim-majority island nation’s conservative Islamic Prosperous Justice party said the proposed bill will foster “family-based development.” The bill is considered a legislative priority before the year 2024, though the country’s parliament has yet to debate it.

Civil rights groups have widely criticized the bill’s drafted language on Indonesian social media. Usman Hamid of Amnesty International Indonesia said, “It’s a very patriarchal bill and it will set back progress in gender equality and women’s rights protections.”

The bill is just the latest Indonesia’s continued crackdown on its LGBTQ community, which has worsened in the past few years. After publicly humiliating 141 men arrested in a gay sauna in 2017, the capital city founded an anti-LGBTQ police force, the government banned all LGBTQ TV content, the country tried to shut down an international LGBTQ sporting event, and one region arrested 12 transgender women and shaved their heads to “make them men.”

An Indonesian mayor recently called for increased raids against LGBTQ people. In one province, gay and trans prisoners face 100 lashes as punishment for being themselves. A 2018 Human Rights Watch report said that homophobia is fueling an explosion in HIV transmission in Indonesia.

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