An Indonesian city is trying to use exorcisms in order to ‘cure’ LGBTQ couples

The city of Padang is in the Western Sumatra region of Indonesia.

BBC Indonesia has reported that up to 18 LGBTQ couples, ten transgender individuals and eight lesbians, have been detained in the Indonesian city of Padang.

It is believed that the couples were detained on the orders of the city’s mayor, Mahyeldi Ansharullah, and that the couples will be subject to psychological support and rehabilitation.

For this to happen, the couples will be forced into ruqyah ceremonies, which is a form of exorcism, in order to rid the body of the ‘demonic spirits’ that are ‘inhabiting’ them. The ceremonies are barbaric and the couples will be hit with broomsticks while verses from the Quran are read at them.

Last month, Ansharullah led a protest against the LGBTQ community in Padang. On the march, he said: “To the perpetrators of sin, let them repent and those who protect them immediately be aware because they will face opposition from all parties and communities in Padang as well as security forces.”

This is just the latest action which is turning Indonesia into an increasingly hostile country for the LGBTQ community, despite the fact that it is legal to be gay in the country, other than in the Aceh region.

At the end of last month, the city of Pariaman, also in Western Sumatra, approved a bylaw which would punish people who had committed ‘LGBT acts’.

The deputy mayor Mardison Mahyudin announced that “acts that are considered LGBT” will be banned under the new regulation.

Clauses in the proposed new regulation discriminate against LGBTQ people “who conduct activity that disturbs public order” or commit “immoral acts with the same-sex”.

If an LGBTQ person is caught committing a homosexual act, they could be fined up to 1 million rupiah which converts to roughly £55 ($70).

Back in October, Indonesian police arrested a gay couple, reportedly for running a pro-LGBTQ Facebook page.

At the start of the year they started banning all gay dating apps, with a spokesperson saying that they contained “content related to pornography.”

And at one point in the year, it looked like the country could have banned homosexuality by Valentine’s Day. The bill that aims to ban homosexuality had backing from all 10 of the main Indonesian political parties.

One Indonesian city, Depok, even created a taskforce to “anticipate the spread of LGBT” among young people.

Speaking about why the taskforce had been spread up, Coconuts reported the city’s deputy mayor, Muhammad Idris as saying: “Religion has agreed that LGBT acts are forbidden, so legally we will overcome this problem so that it will not spread.”

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