Gay ex-policeman arrested for ‘deviant’ sexuality loses bid to win back his job

A police officer stands guard at the front of the Marriott hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia

A gay former police officer in Indonesia, who was arrested for his “deviant” sexuality, just lost his fight to win back his job.

On Valentine’s Day, 2018, 31-year-old former police brigadier Tri Teguh Pujianto was arrested with his partner as they were saying goodbye to each other, and inappropriately questioned on his “deviant” sexuality. By October, he was fired from his job after 10 years in the police service.

Since he was dismissed, Pujianto has been fighting to be reinstated in the police force, and in 2019 he had a lawsuit thrown out by a judge, citing its timing.

In December, LGBT+ rights activists in Indonesia were hopeful when the gay former police officer was told his case would finally be heard in court. 

Court documents for the case showed that Pujianto was accused by Central Java police of violating “ethical codes of the national police… by the deviant act of having same-sex intercourse”.

But now, according to Reuters, Pujianto’s legal representatives have said his case has been rejected by the local administrative court.

One of his lawyers from the non-governmental group Community Legal Aid Institute, Aisya Humaida, said she was disappointed at the court’s decision as they were hoping to prove the man had been discriminated against.

Despite describing his recent case as a “last-ditch” attempt to win back his job, Pujianto and his lawyers are considering an appeal.

He previously said: “Why won’t they judge my service for all those years? Why exaggerate my mistakes, which I don’t think were mistakes anyway?”

“I want to fight for basic human rights, so there will no longer be arbitrary actions taken against minorities,” he added.

Aside from the province of Acer, which practices Sharia law, being gay isn’t illegal in Muslim-majority Indonesia. But LGBT+ people living there still face discrimination as religious and political leaders often act on their own prejudices.