Indonesian ministries refuse to employ LGBT people as it ‘only wants the normal ones, not the odd ones’

Thugs who burned trans woman alive charged with aggravated assault

Several Indonesian ministries have come under fire for banning pregnant, disabled and LGBT+ applicants as it “only wants the normal ones”.

In a winding list of requirement for job seekers, the Attorney General’s Office reportedly specifies that applicants: “must not be mentally disabled and not show sexual orientation or behavioural deviations”, the Ombudsman said on Friday.

An Ombudsman – the authority that oversees state and government public services – investigation found that defence and trade ministries as well as the attorney general’s were discriminating against pregnant, disabled and queer folk in job advertisements, the Jakarta Post reported.

Attorney General’s Office: ‘We don’t want the odd ones’.

Moreover, an AGO spokesperson told local media that the specifications were rolled out to filter “odd” applicants.

“I mean, we just want the normal ones,” the spokesperson told reporters. “We don’t want the odd ones.”

The investigation was helmed by Ombudsman commissioner Ninik Rahayu.

“The Defense Ministry prohibits pregnant women from applying for a job, while the AGO and the trade ministry ban transgender people,” Rahayu told AFP.

“[The AGO] even made a hurtful statement that said ‘we only accept normal people’,” she added.

“Banning people from applying for a job simply because they are transgender is not acceptable and is a violation of human rights.”.

Rahayu called on the ministries to retire their hiring policies. But, so far, Ninik said, only the trade ministry has revoked the restrictions.

The ministry also added that the policy was first enforced in its department this year.

Human rights organisations slam ‘arbitrary and hateful restrictions’.

Activists and lawmakers across the board have been rattled by the uncovering of the job restrictions, calling it “arbitrary and hateful”.

The restrictions amounted to a “hate-based policy”, said Usman Hamid, executive director of Amnesty International Indonesia.

“Indonesia should be trying to recruit the best and brightest to its civil service, not applying arbitrary and hateful restrictions,” he said, calling on the respective ministries to ditch the rules.

Anti-LGBT+ march in Padang, West Sumatra, Indonesia

Protestors in an anti-LGBT+ march, led by the mayor of Padang in West Sumatra, Indonesia (Dprd Kota Padang/Facebook)

“This is against both Indonesia’s constitution and its obligations under international human rights law,” he added.

House of Representatives member Arsul Sani of the Islamic-based United Development Party similarly denounced the restrictions.

“They shouldn’t be discriminated against just because of their sexual orientation,” Arsul said on Friday.

As a result of the bubbling backlash, lawmakers allegedly plan to internment and demand a ban from Attorney General ST Burhanuddin during the next lower house meeting, Arsul added.

While organisations and policy-makers are cooperating to block the ban, it comes at a time where Indonesia’s LGBT+ citizens must content with constant pressure from religious authorities and pressure groups that call for their existence to be criminalised.

Queer activists and allies spilt onto streets in September when the outgoing People’s Representative Council announced plans to pass a revised penal code that would have criminalised gay sex.

Amid widespread opposition, councillors postponed the controversial revised criminal code, but until an unspecified time. Meaning that the threat of criminalisation now looms ahead.