Protesters in Indonesia
Conservative Lawmaker: Indonesia’s LGBT Community an ‘Emergency’

A draft “family resilience” bill has been proposed by members of the House of Representatives of Indonesia.

The draft law defines homosexuality as deviance which poses a threat to families and requires LGBTQ people to report to authorities for rehabilitation, and their families to report LGBTIQ people to agencies handling “family resilience”.

The draft law, seen by Jakarta Post on Wednesday, February 19, 2020, outlines the formation of a state body responsible for “family resilience” which would handle “family crises due to sexual deviation” through spiritual guidance and social, psychological and medical rehabilitation.

The proposed law is the latest development in an increasingly hostile situation for LGBTQ people; government targeting and vigilante violence against LGBTQ people has steadily intensified over the last 5 years. Indonesia does not criminalize same-sex relations on a national level, however, Sharia law, which outlaws same-sex relations, is in effect in the provinces of Aceh and West Sumatra.

The national Pornography Act, which is vaguely worded and thus open to wide interpretation, is widely used to target LGBTQ people, and in 2018 a national law criminalizing same-sex relations was proposed but has not yet been passed.
Jessica Stern, Executive Director of OutRight Action International, comments:

“The news from Indonesia is extremely concerning. The draft bill proposes to codify in law that LGBTQ people pose a threat to their families and need to be ‘rehabilitated’, changed, and removed – in essence requiring LGBTQ people by law to undergo so-called conversion therapy practices which are deemed by reputable psychiatric institutions, such as the World Psychiatric Association, as harmful and ineffective. This not only intensifies the mounting persecution and hate LGBTQ people already face, but also requires their families to report them, making LGBTQ people even more vulnerable and isolated.”

The bill is reminiscent of the 2014 ‘Same-Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act in Nigeria, which criminalizes those who know, or “abet” same-sex relationships, thus criminalizing the friends and families of LGBTQ people. Furthermore, the bill falls into an alarming trend of a number of countries proposing stricter regulations on same-sex relations. In 2019 Brunei finalized the implementation of Sharia law which prescribes stoning to death for same-sex relations, and Gabon introduced legislation criminalizing same-sex relations; similar legislation is pending in Egypt. Persecution of LGBTIQ people has intensified in Malaysia, and rumours of further criminalization on top of the already existing ban on same-sex relations in Uganda continue.

“The introduction of criminalization laws where none have existed, and further criminalization in countries which already criminalize same-sex relations, is a frightening reminder of a growing global backlash against gender equality and the right of LGBTQ people to be who we are and love who we choose, without fear of violence, persecution or imprisonment. This should serve as a reminder that progress cannot be taken for granted, and LGBTQ movements have to fight not only for progress, but also against regression.”