BackHomeNewsNews CategoriesAsia Indonesia's Ongoing LGBT Crackdown Rattles Community

Indonesia's Ongoing LGBT Crackdown Rattles Community

Over the past year and a half, attitudes toward homosexuality in Indonesia have escalated from mild intolerance to violence. 

This unprecedented crackdown includes, most notably, the detention of 141 men on May 22 during a raid on an alleged sex party in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.

Other incidents include the public caning of two young men (aged 20 and 23) at a mosque in the conservative province of Aceh the following day. Further south in Bandung, the West Java police chief, Anton Charliyan, said that he would assemble a task force to punish Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) citizens. “They will face the law and heavy social sanctions. They will not be accepted by society,” he said, according to CNN.

Other politicians have echoed similar sentiments. In Jakarta, Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu compared the LGBT movement to a proxy war, saying that it is “the cheapest kind of warfare there is.” He added: “This sort of brainwashing is dangerous, as it skews the mindset of our nation away from our base ideology.”

Homosexual sex is not, as of yet, illegal in most of Indonesia, with Aceh being the exception. However, nationwide criminalization may be on the horizon.

A team of lawyers has been pushing to change three articles of the criminal code in Indonesia’s Constitutional Court since last August. The articles in question cover extramarital affairs, homosexual rape and consensual homosexual sex. In the event that the Constitutional Court rules in favor of amending the criminal code, Indonesia’s Parliament would then put it to a vote.

A Constitutional Court ruling last month also held that the central government can no longer repeal local sharia ordinances, making it more restrictive for LGBT rights activists.

Many gay Indonesians have been disappointed by the lack of support from Indonesia’s president, Joko Widodo, who previously defended LGBT rights. Kyle Knight, a Human Rights Watch researcher with the organization's LGBT rights program, told CNN that Widodo’s recent silence is a result of his impending 2019 re-election campaign.

While it may seem like this series of attacks on LGBT rights and people in Indonesia is recent, things have been changing gradually over the last few years. As early as 2015, the Indonesian government requested that messaging apps remove same-sex emojis. In 2016 Noor Iza, a Ministry of Communications spokesman, confirmed that over 80 apps and websites, including Grindr, would be blocked for promoting a gay lifestyle.

[Photo via CNN]


Related Articles:

Indonesia Is Destroying Its Forests (and Choking Its Neighbors) in the Name of Palm Oil

Taiwan High Court First in Asia to Rule Same-Sex Marriage Legal

[Photos] Meet the Indonesian Community Where Women Run the Show


Pin It
Submit to reddit