Indonesia’s LGBTQ community angry at rise of conversion therapies

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03/14/2021

Kai Mata found herself at the center of a homophobic storm last year when she posted a video of herself online denouncing a draft of bill that included articles on forcing LGBTQ people to undergo conversion therapy to “cure” their sexual orientation or gender identity. “I am Indonesian and LGBTQ+,” the caption of the video posted on Twitter read. “Help stop a bill that would require conversion therapy here in the fourth-most populated country in the world.” Mata, a 22-year-old Bali-based lesbian singer-songwriter and one of the country’s most outspoken LGBTQ activists, said received a around 400 hate messages and death threats within a day of posting the clip. Undeterred, she continued writing very personal folk songs about her identity and issues surrounding the LGBTQ community. But last month, she received a direct message on Instagram promoting ruqyah, or Islamic conversion therapy. The advertisement was for a website called terapikonversi.co that offers corrective rape, electroconvulsive therapy, and exorcism, telling her: “It’s not too late to turn to God. Allah has not left you… Let us help you cast out the demon within you.”

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