Indonesia is seeing an increase of intolerance towards the LGBT+ population, after undergoing a strong conservative shift in recent years. The country has a very peculiar situation that sees homosexuality technically legal in all but one province.
LGBT+ people are considered to be sexual deviants where their homosexuality is thought to be the result of evil spirits’ possession, which can only be “cured” through horrifically cruel religious ceremonies of exorcism.
The Bangkok Post published an interview where various victims of these exorcisms spoke about their experiences:
For example, Andin, a 31-year-old transgender woman told the newspaper: “It’s traumatising – the horror of that memory stays in my head.”
She had to go through years and years of abuses and violences of all kinds as her family did not accept her homosexuality and only wanted to cure her, to change her. How did they do this? By restlessly pray for her while she was locked in a room (sometimes for days) or even allowing an Imam to douse her with freezing water, in order to push away the “evil spirts of homosexuality” from her body.
But not only: she was also forced to attend strange “religious” ceremonies led by gurus who told her she would go to hell if she did not gave up her life as a woman. She luckily survived these treatments, but unfortunately she got left with mental trauma.
“Nothing changed after the exorcism,” she said. “I’m still LGBT+, but my family didn’t give up easily.”
Exorcisms and other forms of torturous conversion therapy are likely to pay a key role in future if the so-called Family Resilience bill is passed. It is bill that plans to ban homosexuality and all kinds of S&M sex. Whoever found guilty of those offenses would lose custody of their children, and anyone “suffering” from “sexual deviations” would be required to report themselves to rehab facilities for treatments.