10 Lesbian + 8 Transgender people apprehended in Indonesia

Local media recently reported that police in Padang, Indonesian had apprehended 18 couples for “psychological support and rehabilitation” — 10 were women identified as lesbians, and eight were transgender.

As a result, LGBT people and non-Muslims (including Christians and Buddhists) have faced growing hostility and intolerance including attacks and discrimination. In early 2016, LGBT people and activists in Indonesia faced fierce opposition, homophobic attacks, and hate speech, even launched by Indonesian authorities.

The belief is that homosexuality and transgenderism are caused by a mental health disorder triggered by supernatural and demonic influences known as “djinn”, which can be cured through a ruqyah, or exorcism, to expel the spirits.

Ruqyah has become the preferred method of conversion therapy partly due to it being permissible in the Islamic religion as well as its portrayal on mainstream national television. The cleric goes on to say a traumatic incident in his past gave way for a “female spirit” to enter his body. Mr Fathoni claimed the practice is meant to address all ailments “whether medical or non-medical” including “curing” the LGBT community who he believes is suffering from both mental illness and supernatural disturbance.

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