Anti-gay hysteria is on the rise in Indonesia

Sodomy is not a crime, but may soon become one

But the coverage came to an abrupt halt last year. That is unfortunate, as Mama Yuli needs the donations that came with it. The shelter is home to six transgender women, though many more come and go. On a recent day there were nine. It is far from luxurious: a leaky roof had forced several of them to sleep on the floor, and a broken toilet added to their indignities. “We often invite television to come and now they say ‘No’,” Mama Yuli laments.

In early 2016 the Indonesia Broadcasting Commission banned television stations from screening images of “effeminate men” or of anyone campaigning for rights for gay or transgender people, to protect children from “deviant” influences. The pressure on gay and transgender Indonesians has only increased since. In May in Aceh province, which has used its special, semi-autonomous status to adopt some elements of sharia (Islamic law), the authorities publicly caned two men caught having sex with one another. Indonesia does not have a national law against sodomy, but around the same time the police in Jakarta rounded up 140 or so men at a gay sauna, saying they may have broken the law on pornography. The police chief of the province of West Java, Anton Charliyan, has pledged to set up an anti-gay task force, charged with trawling through social media posts to detect gay events to raid.

Read more at: Anti-gay hysteria is on the rise in Indonesia

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