24 Aug 2018

Gay Indonesians Forced to ‘Exorcise Demons’

Relatives are sending LGBT individuals to a ‘clinic’ that ‘heals’ them of their sexual orientation

Anti-gay sentiment appears to be on the rise in Indonesia, and alongside that are so-called “cures” for homosexuality, The Australian reported.

Among these is a clinic near Jakarta which performs exorcisms on people who have been caught having same-sex relations, through a combination of prayer, “healing exorcism,” and traditional medicine. There are padlocks on the doors to prevent people from getting out.

Sarni, a 26-year-old woman of whom video footage was discovered with her girlfriend, was sent to this place by her husband and her mother. She was placed in a cell on her own for five nights and, at the time of reporting in mid-August, had been there for four weeks.

Now, she says, she prays regularly, but still felt “comfortable” in the double-life she was living.

“I recite the Koran and remind myself there is an afterlife and that I will be judged based on my deeds,” Sarni explained to The Australian. “This place helped me to find my inner strength,” she said, adding that she “might be tempted to return” to her “old lifestyle.

”Homosexuality is not illegal in Indonesia, but it was nearly criminalised last year, and is still under debate by lawmakers.

The clinic where Sarni is being held claims to have a 95 percent success rate, and attributes homosexuality to trauma or hormonal irregularities.