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Indonesia is rounding up transgender women and sending them to rehab

Josh Jackman March 8, 2018
Indonesian police guard men arrested in a recent raid during a press conference at a police station in Jakarta on May 22, 2017. Indonesian police have detained 141 men who were allegedly holding a gay party at a sauna, an official said on May 22, the latest sign of a backlash against homosexuals in the Muslim-majority country

Indonesian authorities have arrested (FERNANDO/AFP/Getty)

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.

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)
(Getty)

“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.

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)
(Getty)

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.

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)
(Getty)

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.

Indonesian transvestites of Solidaritas Transgender march during a protest in Jakarta, 20 November 2007. Scores of Indonesian transvestites held a protest against discrimination on transvestites, transexual, gay and lesbian in Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country in the world. AFP PHOTO/ADEK BERRY (Photo credit should read ADEK BERRY/AFP/Getty Images)
(Getty)

“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.

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)

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.

More: Asia, Asia, gender, Indonesia, Indonesia, Trans, Transgender

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