Indonesia sees homosexuality as mental disorder, but defers criminalization of gay sex

Indonesia sees homosexuality as mental disorder, but defers criminalization of gay sex

The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) community has always been a soft target for others in many parts of the world. Amid the ongoing debate over the legalization of homosexuality world over, the Indonesian government undertook a retrogressive measure recently, publishing a guide that proposes to classify homosexuality as a mental disorder. The proposed law, backed by 10 major political parties of the country, is likely to criminalize gay sex, punishable by up to five years of imprisonment for anyone breaking the law.

However, in the wake of disgruntlement over the controversial move about a couple of months ago, the Indonesian government reportedly gave a temporary relief to the LGBT community by deferring the decision to criminalize gay sex by two-three months. It would now welcome people’s feedback for two months before proceeding with the legislation.

The guide of the pseudo-psychiatric body states that individuals belonging to the LGBT community are at the highest risk of developing mental disorders due to identity crisis. To support their stance, the Indonesian Health Ministry also released two medical reports — the 2016 report drafted by the Indonesian Psychiatrists Association (PDSKJI) and the 2017 report conducted by the Health Ministry.

The 2016 report states, “Gays and bisexuals were at risk of emotional problems such as depression owing to identity crises while transsexuals [sic] are susceptible to mental diseases.” On the other side, the report released in 2017 referred homosexuality to be against the “ethos” of the nation. It had earlier banned the gay dating apps. Besides, the Indonesian air force has even questioned the capability of the LGBTQ community to serve in the armed forces.

Indonesian law may impact other nations’ laws

 Indonesia has given its citizens the right to live as per their own will. As a result, the nation had legalized homosexuality, except in the Aceh province on the Sumatra Island where the Islamic law Sharia is in force. Ever since 2015, the crackdown on Indonesia’s gay and lesbian community has been intensified. The anti-LGBT approach has made many throw their hands up in horror.

Indonesia’s move has ruined its accommodative image. The proposed discriminatory revision of the penal code has become a matter of concern for international agencies like the United Nations (UN). Though the Constitutional Court set a similar petition aside in 2017, it does not seem to have the same power this time due to the growing role of conservative parties and consensus over the proposed revisions among all factions.

The above revisions proposed by the Indonesian Health Ministry is likely to impact the mindset of people residing in other parts of the world. It will not be surprising if more nations pass similar laws criminalizing gay sex and categorizing homosexuality as a mental illness. It is, therefore, important for every government to properly analyze the repercussions of such a measure before actually bringing it into action. The implementation of the proposed revisions without analyzing the pros and cons might turn hazardous for the nation.

Treat mental illness to enjoy life

The stigma and prejudices attached to mental disorders worsen the condition of individuals dealing with such illnesses by demotivating them from seeking help for their problem. This, in turn, leads to deterioration of their mental and physical health. Irrespective of the common misplaced perceptions, people suffering from mental disorders must not hesitate to seek help to deal with the problem in a better way. In fact, seeking help from an expert and loved ones is the first step toward recovery.

If you know someone who is dealing with mental disorders like anxiety, depression, etc. and is looking for necessary information related to treatment, the Depression Treatment Helpline can help. We can assist you in finding details about various depression help centers or connect you to one of the best outpatient or residential depression treatment centers. Call our 24/7 depression helpline number 866-619-7729 or chat online with our representative for information on depression rehabilitation centers in your vicinity.

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