The Indonesian city of Depok has announced plans to crack down on the LGBTQ community.
The city’s deputy mayor, Muhammad Idris, outlined a program that would include a 200-strong force of police officers, social service workers and religious leaders that would “anticipate the spread of LGBT” among young people.
Idris explained that the new force has been brought together for religious rather than legal reasons.
“We have created an integrated team to handle LGBT, we will collaborate with police and mass organisations,” he said in comments, as reported by the Coconuts news website.
“Religion has agreed that LGBT acts are forbidden, so legally we will overcome this problem so that it will not spread.”
Depok is a satellite city of the Indonesian capital Jakarta.
This worrying announcement comes after the Indonesian Health Ministry released two medical reports earlier this month – one conducted in 2016, and the other one conducted last year – classifying homosexuality as a “mental disorder”.
The 2016 report was conducted by the Indonesia Psychiatrists Association, and reads: “Gays and bisexuals were at risk of emotional problems such as depression owing to identity crises while transsexuals [sic] are susceptible to mental diseases.”
Meanwhile, the 2017 report, which was conducted by the Health Ministry, said that homosexuality was against the “ethos” of the country.
Back in January, Indonesia banned gay dating apps, and at the time a spokesman for the Communications Ministry said that it was because of “pornographic content.”
Indonesia’s Air Force recently came under fire for stating LGBTQ people can’t serve in the armed forces because of a “mental disorder.”
Homosexuality and same-sex relations are legal in most of Indonesia, save for the ultra conservative Aceh province which is ruled by Islamic law.
However, recent debate has indicated that it could be criminalised in the coming months.
LGBTQ relationships are largely disapproved of by society – particularly public displays of affection between same-sex couples.
In December, an Indonesian court ruled that 10 men will be sent to prison after being arrested during a raid at a gay club and sauna earlier last May.
During the raid, 140 men were detained by police at the Atlantis spa in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta on suspicion of participating in a sex party at the venue.
The men were detained and tried under anti-pornography laws, and have now been found guilty, according to an activist and relative of one of the men.
Those charged include two visitors to the spa, who police allege performed oral sex.
Several employees including managers, a gym trainer, a security guard and a stripper make up the other eight men who have been charged.