Indonesian minister contradicts himself on ’embrace’ of LGBT people
An Indonesian minister has sent very mixed signals about the “embrace” of LGBT people.
In comments made on Monday, the country’s Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin appeared to suggest that attitudes might change in the country when it comes to LGBT people.
The country has in recent years been accused of persecuting its LGBT community through violence, arrests, and harbouring anti-LGBT attitudes.
He said that LGBT people should be “nurtured, not shunned”.
But he stopped short of endorsing acceptance of LGBT people, saying that “religious adherents” to “embrace and nurture” LGBT people through reacquaintance with religious teachings.
He also added that “there is no religion that tolerates LGBT action,” according to the Human Rights Watch.
The country has been seen to be cracking down on LGBT+ people, as earlier this year four people were arrested for posting photos online.
Indonesia also blocked GIFs on WhatsApp in an attempt to stop “obscene” images from being shared, including “gay photos”.
WhatsApp was given a 48-hour deadline to ensure that “obscene” GIFs were not available on the platform.
According to reports, the government responded to say that WhatsApp had complied with the request.
“We see now that they have done what we asked. Therefore we won’t block them,” the director general of Indonesia’s communication and informatics ministry Semuel Pangerpan.
The messaging platform relies on Giphy and Tenor to provide its GIF service.
But the problem apparently was with Tenor, which does not provide a filter for adult content.
Meanwhile, four gay men face up to 16 years in prison after being arrested for pictures they posted online.
The Indonesian men are suspected by the police of spreading gay pornography online, but seem to have been targeted simply because they enjoy BDSM.
A reader who contacted PinkNews said: “Today, my friend was put in jail in Indonesia for taking pictures when playing BDSM with his submissive.
“The picture doesn’t even have genitals in it. They think it’s porn because they simply don’t understand BDSM, and they hate gays.”
Police Brigadier General Fadil Imran said that he had arrested “perpetrators of dissemination of videos and photos of sexually immoral content with the classification of BDSM”.
He listed items which had been confiscated from the first pair arrested, two men aged 42 and 30, one of whom runs the Facebook page which police say has been spreading porn.
The official listed “straps, rubber whips, handcuffs, candles, iron chains, body vests, mouth masks, masks, body leather belts, chopsticks, and whip tools.
He said that from the other pair, authorities confiscated “clamp clothes, clothesline, dog chains, candles, baby oil and massage tools.”
Gay sex is legal in Indonesia, but authorities have repeatedly targeted LGBT people.
In Aceh, a region of the otherwise secular country which imposes Shariah law, two men were caned 83 times as a legal punishment for having gay sex.
The men were informed on by their neighbour, who took video footage.
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The video shows vigilantes kicking, slapping and insulting the men.
The canings came a day after 141 men were arrested in the capital, Jakarta, for having a “gay sex party”.
And earlier in 2017, police arrested 58 people in a raid on a gay sauna.
They acted after members of the public reportedly complained that the building was being used for sex work.