2016 in review: a year of anti-LGBT violence, repression

On Dec 29, 2016 76 Crimes reported: Setbacks, ongoing arrests and anti-gay violence marred 2016, despite substantial advances for LGBT rights in several countries. This article is the second of several planned recaps of the events of 2016.

Indonesia and Tanzania were swept by anti-LGBT panics of that type that occur from time to time, for some reason, when societies that have been rather passively homophobic become temporarily fixated on and energized by their opposition to homosexuality.

Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo urged police to protect gay Indonesians from a surge of anti-LGBT violence. (Photo courtesy of abc.net.au)

In Indonesia, anti-LGBT rhetoric and violence accompanied an effort by conservative Islamist organizations to criminalize all sex outside of marriage, including consensual same-sex relations. The Minister of Higher Education said LGBT students should be banned if they “engage in disgraceful behavior like making love or showing affection.” In response to anti-LGBT violence, President Joko Widodo said that “the police must act” to protect LGBT Indonesians even though “Islam does not allow” same-sex intimacy. The country’s anti-AIDS programs are at risk; the country’s vice president urged the UN Development Program to deny funding to LGBT programs.

In Tanzania, the government decided to try to reduce homosexuality through the implausible method of limiting sales of lubricants. That put the country’s anti-AIDS efforts in jeopardy, as did the decision to suspend  HIV/AIDS outreach projects aimed at gay men. In the port city of Dar es Salaam, police focused on arresting suspected gays in clubs.

In Malaysia, trans woman continue to be victimized by police and the media, which treat them as disreputable criminals. The Malaysian trans advocacy group Justice for Sisters continued its call for the repeal of anti-trans laws and an end to arbitrary police action, such as 21 arrests in fall 2015, a further 12 arrests in March 2016 and June’s legal proceedings against a trans woman with tuberculosis but without an attorney.

Read more at 2016 in review: a year of anti-LGBT violence, repression | 76 CRIMES

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