Indonesian anti-gay law created because ‘homosexuality is a disease’

Indonesian police parade a group of men arrested for holding a "gay party" in Surabaya

An Indonesian region has drafted an anti-LGBT law because—according to its leader—homosexuality is an “infectious disease.”

Supian Hadi, the regent of East Kotawaringin, welcomed the proposed legislation of creating an anti-LGBT law, saying, “I thank the council for this,” according to The Jakarta Post.

“I hope the plan can materialise as soon as possible because [the rise of LGBT activities] is alarming,” continued Hadi, who is currently serving his second five-year term in office in the regency of more than 400,000 people.

Supian Hadi

Supian Hadi governs the East Kotawaringin regency in Indonesia (Humaskotim/wiki commons)

Hadi said he was worried because homosexuality was an “infectious disease and against religious norms.”

Other areas of the country have also moved to crack down on queer people ahead of the presidential election in April next year.

Payakumbuh, the second-biggest city in West Sumatra, has drafted revisions to a pre-existing law which would prohibit LGBT+ activities in order to stop “deviant behaviour” from spreading.

A group of Muslim protesters march with banners against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in Banda Aceh on Decmber 27, 2017

Payakumbuh lawmakers have drafted revisions to a law to stop the “deviant behaviour” of gay sex from spreading (CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN/AFP/Getty)

“The rise of LGBT activities is alarming.”

— Supian Hadi

The speaker for the city’s legislative council, Yendri Bodra, said: “The Payakumbuh administration’s intention to include provisions regarding the LGBT community in the planned revision of the 2016 bylaw on social ills is feasible.”

Is homosexuality legal in Indonesia?

Being gay is legal in Indonesia, apart from in Aceh, which operates under Sharia law and where, last year, two men were caned 83 times as a legal punishment for having gay sex.

There have, however, been multiple attempts to outlaw gay sex in the country.

The Indonesian Supreme Court narrowly blocked a ban from passing last year, and another attempt—which would have made gay sex punishable by up to five years in prison—was set to come into effect in February, but was delayed.

Men arrested in raid in Indonesia accused of gay party.

There have been multiple attempts to outlaw gay sex in the country. (FERNANDO/AFP/Getty)

Nevertheless, queer people have been arrested on the basis of Indonesia’s pornography law.

Last week, 10 women were arrested in Padang, West Sumatra, on suspicion of “lesbian deviant behaviour.”

Head of police Pol Yadrison said that one of the women’s Facebook accounts showed her “kissing and cuddling” with another woman, as if they were “men and women.”

In January, Indonesian police arrested 12 transgender women in Aceh and shaved their heads in an effort “to turn them into men.”

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

And 141 men were arrested last year in Jakarta, the capital, for having a “gay sex party.”

A study published in July found that the ongoing crackdown on Indonesian LGBT+ people has led to a 500 percent increase in the number of people with HIV in the country.

Human Rights Watch, which released the report, said that “the anti-LGBT moral panic and unlawful police raids have made public health outreach to the most at-risk populations far more difficult,” making a “wider spread of the virus more likely.”