Indonesia is rounding up transgender women and sending them to rehab
Transgender women in Indonesia are being rounded up and forced to go to rehabilitation centres, according to reports.
The Jakarta Social Agency prompted the wave of detentions by classifying trans women as people who have social dysfunctional traits, according to The Jakarta Post.
Chaidir, head of rehabilitation affairs at the agency, said it regularly conducted raids on places where they suspected trans women – known as ‘waria’ in Indonesia – were staying.
“Soon after we have a waria admitted to a social house, we will notify her family or her community to organise her release,” he said.
But he explained that these trans women were not allowed to leave rehab centres before signing a statement promising not to repeat the “violation”.
“Once or twice is still OK, but if we catch them a third time, they can be sent to jail for committing the same violation over and over,” said Chaidir.
Anti-LGBT sentiment in Indonesia has risen dramatically over the past few months.
Police arrested 12 trans people in January, shaved their heads, paraded them in public and forced them into a series of demeaning exercises.
During the raid, called “operasi penyakit masyarakat” – which translates as “community sickness operation” – the women were dressed in stereotypically male clothing.
North Aceh Regency Police Chief Ahmad Untung Surianata said the 12 trans detainees had been taken to police headquarters, where they would be coached “until they really become men.”
Untung said that “the officers also nurtured them by way of having them run for some time and telling them to chant loudly until their male voices came out.”
The police chief added that the operation was carried out to stop an increase in LGBT people in Aceh, which he said would be dangerous for the next generation of Indonesians.
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“There were mothers who came crying to me, worried about their children,” he said.
“This is not right, and we hope this social disease can be resolved.”
Indonesia has also proposed banning gay sex.
Lawmakers are set to decide this month whether they will pass the bill, which reportedly has support from all 10 of main political parties.
It would make gay sex punishable by up to five years in prison.
The Indonesian Supreme Court narrowly blocked a similar measure from passing in December, but it seems that was only a temporary reprieve.