Even though Indonesian law doesn’t explicitly criminalize gay or trans people, the Asian island nation’s crackdown on queer people is worsening.
Gay Star News reports that Indonesian police recently arrested 10 women after someone reported two women in a Facebook photo “cuddling and kissing like men and women.” Police also recently humiliated three trans women at a public beach by spraying them with a fire hose in a “full body purification” ritual.”
In a statement, Indonesian police said, “The growing issue of [LGBT] behavior … has troubled the public. Almost every day we get reports from the public regarding this LGBT issue.”
The 10 arrested women were sent to an ominous sounding ‘education program’ at the country’s Office of Social Affairs to “learn to fit into society better.” GSN says in October police also arrested a suspected lesbian couple, two men who ran a pro-LGBTQ Facebook group and six other trans women.
The Executive Director of Amnesty International Indonesia has called the trans women’s public hosing “cruel, inhuman … degrading … [and] absolutely prohibited under international law.” One municipal police official has said, “There [is] no place for LGBT people in the city.”
Earlier this year, the Indonesian government started banning gay social apps, police shut down an LGBTQ beauty pageant, the capital city of Jakarta founded an anti-LGBTQ police force and the country’s most conservative province continued its practice of publicly whipping gay men.
The crackdown has occurred because influential Islamic conservatives have stoked anti-LGBTQ sentiments to propel their own careers. But Islam isn’t inherently anti-gay. The Quran says nothing about homosexuality, and American Muslims support same-sex marriage more than American Evangelicals.