“LGBT is included as a mental disorder. If there are still many candidate soldiers who are mentally healthy, then why should unhealthy ones be accepted?”
Indonesia’s Air Force have come under fire for stating LGBTQ people can’t serve in the armed forces because of a “mental disorder.”
The controversial statement stemmed from their Air Force’s Twitter account (@_TNIAU), tweeting that soldiers were forbidden from committing immoral acts, which resulted in user RatnaPurba (@ratpruba) questioning: “What about the LGBT?”
They responded: “There is a mental health test in the selection process. LGBT is included as a mental disorder. If there are still many candidate soldiers who are mentally healthy, then why should unhealthy ones be accepted?”
Unsurprisingly, their response resulted in a debate among Twitter users.
“It’s up to you if you are against the LGBT community, but don’t eliminate their right to be equal among others,” @jea_hana replied.
The official account replied to the controversy, stating: “This is a sensitive issue, but the TNI must be firm. TNI soldiers must be physically and mentally healthy… Same-sex intercourse is a sin, right? I am really sorry, but even animals never miss their target in mating.”
Despite homosexuality not being illegal in Indonesia, many LGBTQ people still suffer from discrimination.
Last year, two men were sentenced to a public caning in Aceh, a province in Indonesia where homosexuality is illegal.
However, in September the government of Indonesia announced that they would “take further steps to ensure a safe and enabling environment for all human rights defenders”, which included LGBTQ activists, and to give priority to equality and non-discrimination.
Indonesia is doing this following its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) from the United Nations (UN).