On Sept 17, 2016 The Jakarta Post reported: In what can be seen as another attack on the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community in Indonesia, the government has decided to ban apps designed for LGBT people due to allegations that they are being used to facilitate child prostitution rings.
The decision was made after a meeting between representatives from the Communications and Information Ministry, the National Police, the Religious Affairs Ministry, the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) and other related stakeholders on Wednesday.
The panel issued a recommendation to block three apps, namely Grindr, BoyAhoy and Blued.
“We have sent an email to Google to block Grindr, BoyAhoy and Blued because these applications promote the LGBT lifestyle and sexual deviance,” Noor Iza, a spokesman from the Communications and information Ministry, said on Friday.
He added that this was just the beginning. Similar apps are currently under investigation and could be blacklisted as well.
Aidil Chendramata, director of information security for the Communications and information Ministry, said none of the participants who attended the meeting had opposed the final decision.
A surge in anti-LGBT sentiment has emerged following the discovery by the National Police of an alleged pimp identified only as AR. AR sells people — mostly children — to men for sex, and he aggressively uses apps to post pornographic pictures of the victims in a bid to lure in customers.
AR sold the victims for between Rp 1.2 million (US$91) and Rp 1.5 million each. To date, the police have arrested four suspects in the online prostitution ring. AR, arrested during a police raid in Bogor, West Java, U, a pimp, E, who helped AR recruit children, and F, who acted as a pimp and a customer. LGBT activists argue that the government has mistakenly linked pedophilia, which AR engaged in, with the LGBT community.
“They have made a false link between pedophilia and homosexuality. These two things are completely unrelated. Blocking apps for LGBT people will not solve the problem of online child prostitution,” Arus Pelangi secretary Ryan Korbarri told The Jakarta Post.
As reported recently, the Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) and the Press Council have explained that pedophilia is completely separate from homosexuality. The former is sexually deviant behavior that can be perpetrated by both homosexuals and heterosexuals. Meanwhile, the term “LGBT” is simply a classification of gender identity.
Teguh Iman of Suara Kita, an organization that supports the LGBT community, said that by blocking the apps, the government revealed that it was too afraid to face the social reality of Indonesia in the 21st century.
“We know that Facebook and Twitter can also be used to run online prostitution rings, but there is no discussion about blocking these apps,” he said.