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Indonesian Psychiatrists Begin Classifying LGBTQ People As Mentally Ill

Mount Batur (Gunung Batur) is an active volcano located at the center of two concentric calderas north west of Mount Agung on the island of Bali, Indonesia.

CREDIT: Flickr user Thomas Depenbusch.

The Indonesian Psychiatrists Association (PDSKJI) recently begin classifying lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender sexual and gender identities as mental illnesses.

PDSKJI’s Suzy Yusna Dewi argued that these identities were caused by external factors, like social environment, and therefore could be cured through psychiatric treatment.

“We really do care about them,” Dewi recently commented to the Jakarta Post. “What we are worried about is, if left untreated, such sexual tendencies could become a commonly accepted condition in society.”

Dewi also referenced the association’s recent statement about concerns with the rising prominence of the LGBTQ community. The association recently diagnosed homosexual and bisexual people with “psychiatric problems” and transgender people with “mental disorders.” The Indonesian Psychiatrists Association classified a psychiatric problem as a condition with a risk of developing into a mental disorder, while those with mental disorders develop physical symptoms and behavior that affect their well-being and social functioning.

Dewi claimed that there was not sufficient data to support the idea that sexual and gender identities were triggered by biological factors. She also said that constant interventions were important in curing these identities and compared the identities to drug addiction.

“Without constant intervention, a person can easily return to their previous sexual tendency once he or she experiences withdrawal,” Dewi further commented. “We must respect Indonesian traditions, which culturally do not accept same-sex marriage and we should not bow to the influence of foreign values that may not fit in with our values.”

The World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of psychiatric disorders in 1990. Chatarina Wahyurini of the Indonesia Planned Parenthood Association supported the World Health Organization’s stance and commented that her organization recognized LGBTQ people and did not believe that they had psychiatric disorders. She also said that her organization had called for an end to discrimination of LGBTQ people and asked the government to provide protection and security to every Indonesian citizen regardless of sexual or gender identity.

A 2015 Generation Progress poll found that American Millennials strongly support federal comprehensive LGBTQ nondiscrimination legislation, which would provide protections for the LGBTQ community in employment and housing. Among other major political issues, comprehensive LGBT nondiscrimination protection receive the strongest support among non-youth-specific issues from Millennials.

Alexandra Kilpatrick is a reporter with Generation Progress.

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