Indonesia has moved to classify homosexuality as a “mental disorder” as the country’s parliament moves to criminalise gay sex.

The news comes amidst a spate of human rights abuses against LGBTI people, including rounding up trans women and shaving their heads, arresting patrons of a sauna, as well as publicly caning gay men.

Indonesia’s Health Ministry is set to release a medical document outlining the classification based on reports which have come out in recent years, PinkNews has reported.

One report, published by the Indonesia Psychiatrists Association, claims that “gays and bisexuals were at risk of emotional problems such as depression owing to identity crises while transsexuals are susceptible to mental diseases.”

Another, published by the Health Ministry itself, says that “homosexuality was against the ethos of the country”.

Gay sex is already criminalised in Aceh province, where many of the canings have taken place.

The bill, which is set to be introduced in the next fortnight, has supposed across all of the country’s major political parties.

Last month the Indonesian Supreme Court prevented the passage of a bill which would have legislated criminalisation of gay sex country-wide.

The secretary-general of the PPP Party said the measure “applies to people of the same gender who have sex, which is basically a forbidden act.”

“It’s considered the same as adultery, where men and women having sex outside marriage can be considered a crime.”

Speaking as part of a report aired on triple j’s Hack, ANU professor Ed Aspinall said the crackdown likely stems from conservative media creating hysteria over a poster at University of Indonesia offering peer support to LGBTI students.

“It’s one of those issues in this age of very rapid electronic media and social media where it really just spiralled to become this major moral panic to engulf the country,” Aspinall said.

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