JAKARTA — Kai Mata discovered herself on the middle of a homophobic storm final 12 months when she posted a video of herself on-line denouncing a draft of invoice that included articles on forcing LGBTQ individuals to bear conversion remedy to “treatment” their sexual orientation or gender id.
“I’m Indonesian and LGBTQ+,” the caption of the video posted on Twitter learn. “Assist cease a invoice that might require conversion remedy right here within the fourth-most populated nation on the planet.”
Mata, a 22-year-old Bali-based lesbian singer-songwriter and one of many nation’s most outspoken LGBTQ activists, mentioned obtained a round 400 hate messages and demise threats inside a day of posting the clip.
Undeterred, she continued writing very private folks songs about her id and points surrounding the LGBTQ group.
However final month, she obtained a direct message on Instagram selling ruqyah, or Islamic conversion remedy. The commercial was for a web site known as terapikonversi.co that gives corrective rape, electroconvulsive remedy, and exorcism, telling her: “It is not too late to show to God. Allah has not left you… Allow us to assist you solid out the demon inside you.”
She angrily posted the commercial on her Instagram account, and it turned out that a minimum of a dozen of her fellow activists obtained the identical message. She wrote a music about conversion remedy, hoping to share the view that LGBTQ identities do not have to be fastened.
“[I felt] violated attributable to being straight focused with this jarring ‘remedy’ program,” she informed Nikkei Asia. “[It frustrated me] from the belief that many in Indonesia assume we’d like ‘curing,’ as if we’re a diseased, flawed a part of our various inhabitants.”
The administrator at terapikonversi.co was not instantly accessible to remark for this story. The web site solely has an e mail handle, contact type, and an inactive Fb account.
Though ruqyah has been used because the early days of Islam to solid out evil spirits, it’s unclear as to when the observe started to focus on the LGBTQ group. The observe consists of methods such reciting verses from the Quran, immersing individuals in chilly water, and extra excessive strategies together with rape.
Dedi Natadiningrat, a cleric and practitioner of ruqyah at Cirebon Al Quran Remedy in West Java, mentioned he had obtained “seven LGBTQ sufferers wishing to be cured” since he began his enterprise in 2010.
“By the grace of Allah, I can say that one particular person I handled now has modified his orientation by 60%,” Natadiningrat informed Nikkei, with out additional elaborating what the proportion means. “However some others confirmed no change. After all they’ll solely be cured if God is prepared.”
Natadiningrat denied he ever practiced corrective rape, saying his observe solely consists of Quranic recitals.
Dr. Dina Listiorini, a lecturer on the Division of Communication at Atma Jaya College in Yogyakarta, mentioned the rise of ruqyah to fight id and sexual orientation might be traced again to early 2000 after the downfall of the authoritarian New Order regime beneath former dictator Suharto. At the moment, conservative Muslims loved better freedom after being repressed for greater than 30 years.
“The 2000s popular culture justified this notion,” mentioned Listiorini, who conducts in depth analysis on discrimination towards LGBTQ group. “Islamic TV exhibits had been in every single place, and on the identical time the media began to depict LGBTQ public figures as outcasts.”
Although homosexuality was dominated out as psychological dysfunction and illness by the World Well being Group and within the Diagnostic and Statistical Handbook of Psychological Problems in late 1980s, many conservative non secular teams nonetheless say that it’s a illness that’s deviant and sinful.
“The marketing campaign of ruqyah is an try to normalize what they see as irregular or deviant,” Listiorini mentioned. “In the long run, this homophobic marketing campaign results in violence towards gender plurality.”
Furthermore, sections of state equipment have promoted and sponsored the vilification of the LGBTQ group.
The town of Pariaman in West Sumatra handed a regional legislation to wonderful LGBTQ group members for “disturbing public order” in 2018; the mayor of Padang, additionally in West Sumatra, led a two-kilometer rally to reject the presence of the group; and since 2019, the regional authorities of Depok metropolis in West Java has repeatedly tried to cross a legislation to ban the group.
Arus Pelangi, a Jakarta-based LGBTQ advocacy group, recorded greater than 1,800 persecution circumstances towards group members throughout Indonesia between 2006-2018. These findings might not replicate the true determine as incidents usually go unreported and that some individuals really feel hesitant to report back to authorities for concern of repercussion.
Arif Nuh Safri, a cleric with the all-transgender Islamic boarding faculty Al Fatah in Yogyakarta, mentioned no observe of ruqyah has proved to be efficient.
“I heard from fellow clerics about ruqyah for LGBTQ. I mentioned ‘please show it. You’ll be able to come to Al Fatah anytime for those who can show it.’ However no one has come but,” Safri mentioned. “How will you change the id of who you’re?”
Safri, a lecturer at State Islamic College in Yogyakarta, mentioned some individuals had informed him how they endured ruqyah up to now and the way it traumatized them.
“All informed the identical,” he mentioned. “It was torture and inhumane.”