Indonesia’s Ministry of Health has moved to declare homosexuality a “mental disorder,” as lawmakers debate a popular bill that would criminalize homosexuality in the country.
The Ministry announced it would add homosexuality to a list of mental disorders in a new medical guide it planned to publish, according to local media reports.
The guide is based on two reports, one drafted in 2016 by the Indonesian Psychiatrists Association and the other by the Health Ministry itself last year.
The Association’s report said “gays and bisexuals were at risk of emotional problems such as depression owing to ‘identity crises'” while transgender people are “susceptible to mental diseases”.
The Ministry document stated that “homosexuality was against the ethos of the country”.
In 1992, the World Health Organization declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder.
Homosexuality is not illegal in most of Indonesia but lawmakers are also currently considering a bill, which reportedly has widespread political support, that would make gay sex punishable by up to five years in prison.
Two weeks ago, police in the Indonesian province of Aceh conducted raids on beauty salons and detained a number of transgender women, forcibly cutting their hair and making them wear male clothing.
A number of gay parties, gyms and saunas in Indonesia’s major cities have been raided in the last 12 months, and hundreds of Indonesian men arrested.