Indonesian police task force set up to ‘solve the LGBT disease’
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.
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.
The Depok Mayor said his force will include police officers, 200 members of community organisations, and religious leaders from 63 villages in his district.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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But it’s not just in Aceh where LGBT Indonesians suffer.
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.
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.