Current Affairs

Indonesian police task force set up to ‘solve the LGBT disease’

Josh Jackman February 20, 2018
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Indonesian authorities have established a task force to stop “the LGBT disease”.

A wave of anti-LGBT sentiment has engulfed the country in recent months.

A bill due to go before lawmakers in March is set to ban gay sex across Indonesia, while one MP, Muslim Ayub, has told the House of Representatives that LGBT people should be killed or imprisoned for life.

(YouTube/LOE TUBE)

And last month, Indonesian police arrested 12 transgender women in Aceh, shaved their heads and beat them in an effort “to turn them into men”.

The raid on salons was called “operasi penyakit masyarakat,” which translates as “community sickness operation”.

The new task force has been set up by Mayor Muhammad Idris of Depok, a district in West Java with more than 1.75 million people.

A group of Muslim protesters march with banners against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Banda Aceh on Decmber 27, 2017. There has been a growing backlash against Indonesia's small lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community over the past year, with ministers, hardliners and influential Islamic groups lining up to make anti-LGBT statements in public. / AFP PHOTO / Chaideer MAHYUDDIN (Photo credit should read CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN/AFP/Getty Images)

It follows the establishment of other anti-LGBT groups in the country over the past year.

The Depok Mayor said his force will include police officers, 200 members of community organisations, and religious leaders from 63 villages in his district.

BANDA ACEH, INDONESIA - MAY 23: Indonesian gay couple walk as arrive for caning in public from an executor known as 'algojo' for having gay sex, which is against Sharia law at Syuhada mosque on May 23, 2017 in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. The two young gay men, aged 20 and 23, were caned 85 times each in the Indonesian province of Aceh during a public ceremony after being caught having sex last week. It was the first time gay men have been caned under Sharia law as gay sex is not illegal in most of Indonesia except for Aceh, which is the only province which exercises Islamic law. The punishment came a day after the police arrested 141 men at a sauna in the capital Jakarta on Monday due to suspicion of having a gay sex party, the latest crackdown on homosexuality in the country. (Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images)
Gay men in Indonesia being led to be lashed 83 times (Getty)

According to Indonesian publication Kompas, Idris said: “Religion has agreed that LGBT [people commit] forbidden acts, but legally we will overcome this problem so as not to worsen the issue.”

The mayor added: “This is our effort to prevent LGBT because many phone calls come to the Social Service requesting to help solve the LGBT disease”.

He said that “the campaign of rejecting LGBT will be conducted by this integrated team,” which would, he explained, “coach” LGBT people.

Indonesian Gay Couple

The same kind of phrasing was used by authorities when the 12 trans women were detained and assaulted just three weeks ago.

North Aceh Regency Police Chief Ahmad Untung Surianata said at the time that the women were part of a “social disease” and would be coached “until they really become men.”

Also last month, gay hook-up apps were pulled from the Google Play Store in Indonesia.

(YouTube/LOE TUBE)

In May, two men were caned 83 times in Aceh as a legal punishment for having gay sex.

The 20 and 23-year-old, identified only by their initials – MH and MT – were the first to be sentenced to punishment for gay sex in the region.

Indonesian men facing lashes

Amnesty International has repeatedly urged Indonesia to stop its horrific treatment of LGBT people in Aceh.

A report alleged that there had been attempts to ‘cover up’ the anti-LGBT oppression in the region by moving the floggings away from the public eye.

But it’s not just in Aceh where LGBT Indonesians suffer.

Indonesian Muslim protestors of Muslim organization 'Hizbuth Tahrir' hold a banner reading, 'Forbidden, Crime and Disgusting' refering to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transexual associations during a protest against an eventual meeting on the issue in Surabaya on March 26, 2010. Indonesian police said on March 24, they will not issue a permit for an international gay and transgender group to convene a regional conference because of fears it could incite unrest. The international lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex association (ILGA) was scheduled to meet from 26 - 28 March in the world's most populous Muslim country. AFP PHOTO / MUHAMMAD RISYAL HIDAYAT (Photo credit should read MUHAMMAD RISYAL HIDAYAT/AFP/Getty Images)

The caning punishment came the day after 141 men were arrested in Jakarta, the capital, for having a “gay sex party”.

And earlier that same month, eight men were arrested for holding a “gay party” in Surabaya, the second biggest city in Indonesia.

GiveOut is aiming to eliminate the violence in countries where the LGBTQI community is not accepted (Photo credit should read CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN/AFP/Getty Images)

It was also announced that the country’s government would clamp down on gay culture – instituting a ban on online “gay propaganda” after a request from the police.

Last year, Indonesian lawmakers gave the green light to a proposed law that would outlaw ‘LGBT behaviours’ on television.

More: anti lgbt, Asia, Asia, Gay, Indonesia, Indonesia, police, Transgender

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