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Crackdown Against GLBTQ People Intensifies in Indonesia

by Redaktie in History & Politics , 18 April 2020

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar

A draft “family resilience” bill has been proposed by members of the House of Representatives of Indonesia. The draft law defines homosexuality as a deviance which poses a threat to families, and requires GLBTQ people to report to authorities for rehabilitation, and their families to report GLBTQ people to agencies handling “family resilience.”

Muslim anti-GLBT rally in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, in February 2018
The draft law, seen by the “Jakarta Post” earlier this year, outlines the formation of a state body responsible for “family resilience” which would handle “family crises due to sexual deviation” through spiritual guidance and social, psychological and medical rehabilitation. Furthermore, the bill defines sexual deviations as “urges to achieve sexual satisfaction through unusual and unreasonable ways, which include sadism, masochism, incest and homosexuality.”

Lawmaker Sodik Mujahid, member of the Gerindra Party (Great Indonesia Movement Party) and one of the bill’s proponents, said GLBT behavior should be reported for treatment because it would disrupt the future of the mankind. “Let’s look at it more fundamentally. The practice of homosexuality for example – does it not disrupt the future of mankind on a family basis?,” he said.

In 2017, 141 men were detained in a raid on the Atlantis sauna in North Jakarta
The proposed law is the latest development in an increasingly hostile situation for GLBTQ people in Indonesia; government targeting and vigilante violence against GLBTQ people has steadily intensified over the last five years. Indonesia does not criminalize same-sex relations on a national level, however Sharia law, which outlaws same-sex relations, is in effect in the provinces of Aceh and West Sumatra. The national Pornography Act, which is vaguely worded and thus open to wide interpretation, is widely used to target GLBTQ people, and in 2018 a national law criminalizing same-sex relations was proposed, but has not yet been passed.

Jessica Stern, Executive Director of the GLBT human rights organzation OutRight Action International, commented: “The news from Indonesia is extremely concerning. The draft bill proposes to codify in law that GLBTQ people pose a threat to their families and need to be ‘rehabilitated,’ changed, and removed - in essence requiring GLBTQ people by law to undergo so-called conversion therapy practices which are deemed by reputable psychiatric institutions, such as the World Psychiatric Association, as harmful and ineffective. This not only intensifies the mounting persecution and hate GLBTQ people already face, but also requires their families to report them, making GLBTQ people even more vulnerable and isolated.”

Caneing in Aceh in 2018 for having gay sex
The bill is reminiscent of the 2014 “Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act” in Nigeria, which criminalizes those who know, or “abet” same-sex relationships, thus criminalizing the friends and families of GLBTQ people. Furthermore, the bill falls into an alarming trend of a number of countries proposing stricter regulations on same-sex relations.

OutRight’s Jessica Stern: “The introduction of criminalization laws where none have existed, and further criminalization in countries which already criminalize same-sex relations, is a frightening reminder of a growing global backlash against gender equality and the right of GLBTQ people to be who we are and love who we choose, without fear of violence, persecution or imprisonment. This should serve as a reminder that progress cannot be taken for granted, and GLBTQ movements have to fight not only for progress, but also against regression.”



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