Indonesia's Psychiatry Association Classifies LGBT People as Having a 'Mental Disorder'

Gay pride parade
Participants hold giant rainbow flags during the Taiwan LGBT pride parade in Taipei, Taiwan, October 25, 2014. Thousands of Taiwanese gathered with people from Hong Kong, Korea and Japan on Saturday for the annual gay pride parade which is in its twelfth year, according to organizers. |

Indonesia's leading psychiatric organization has classified homosexuality as a mental disorder.

The Indonesian Psychiatrists Association announced that people who identify as homosexual or bisexual will be categorized as "people with psychiatric problems," while individuals who identify as transgender are labeled as having "mental disorders."

In an interview with the Jakarta Post on Tuesday, PDSKJI spokesperson Suzy Yusna Dewi asserted that the designation is not an act of bigotry against the LGBT community.

"We really do care about them. What we are worried about is, if left untreated, such sexual tendencies could become a commonly accepted condition in society," said Dewi. "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."

PDSKJI's announcement about the new standard comes as the Indonesian government has reportedly cracked down on LGBT expression in the Southeast Asian nation.

Australia Broadcasting Corporation News reported Thursday that Indonesian Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu has labeled the LGBT community a "threat" and efforts have been made against LGBT websites.

"The government has shut down a slew of websites, ordered TV programs depicting gay lives off the air and demanded all instant messaging apps remove same-sex emoticons — like men holding hands and the symbolic rainbow flag — or face a ban," noted ABC News.

Indonesia's decision to classify homosexuality as a mental disorder has received criticism from groups in the United States, where the American Psychiatric Association has removed homosexuality and gender identity disorder from its list of mental illnesses.

The Human Rights Campaign, a group that bills itself "as the largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for LGBT Americans," has said: "This is yet another blow to the LGBT community in the country in recent weeks following ... the government's attempts to halt funding to LGBT programs through the U.N. Development Program.

Earlier this month, the Jakarta Post reported that "Vice President Jusuf Kalla asked the United Nations Development Program not to finance LGBT community programs in the country.

"Kalla said the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) recently verified a report that the U.N. body had prepared funds worth U.S. $8 million to support LGBT campaigns in Southeast Asia, including Indonesia."

The American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses in 1973, but a disorder known as "ego dystonic homsexuality" remained on its list until the 1980s, and "gender identity disorder" was removed decades later.

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