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Indonesia’s Anti-LGBTQ Sentiment Continues To Grow

The growing conservative mindset in Indonesia continues to threaten the LGBTQ community…
 
While most of the world is taking baby steps to accepting the LGBTQ community, it seems that Indonesia is beginning to backpedal. Since 2015, the Southeast Asian archipelago has begun a gradual decline to intolerance, with government and religious officials only instigating the mistreatment.
 
Although animosity toward LGBTQ people is by no means a new concept in Indonesia, the nation has generally maintained a fairly tolerant environment for the community. Recent studies, however, suggest that over 87% of Indonesians felt the LGBTQ community was a threat to the country, and 93% felt their practices were morally wrong.
 
Homosexuality has never been regulated by state laws other than in the Aceh province in northern Sumatra. The province is known to be very conservative, where Sharia law is enforced in customs and laws.
 
The LGBTQ community seemed to have dodged a bullet in December 2017, when Indonesia’s Constitutional Court voted down demands to criminalize LGBTQ behavior; a law suggested by Islamic fundamentalists. The decision, however, has not stopped conservative minds in office from continuing attempts to outlaw LGBTQ practices.
 
Arsul Sani, a politician in the United Development Party (PPP), told CNN that:
 
“Those who oppose (the law) base their perspectives on Western cultures and values, whilst we propose this new criminal code upon Indonesian indigenous values and culture.” The PPP is considered the nationalist Islamist party in Indonesia, which aims to bring the nation’s criminal code in unison with religious values.
 
The PPP is one of ten political parties in Indonesia that oppose actions and practices of the LGBTQ community.
 
Waves of intolerant attacks on the LGBTQ community began in 2017, with law enforcement storming private events and arresting men accused of homosexuality. The most recent of attacks was in January of this year, when 12 transgender women were dragged out of a beauty salon in Aceh, forced to wear men’s clothing and had their heads shaved in an attempt to enforce masculinity.
 
Despite the country’s President Joko Widodo’s claims in 2017 that Indonesia is still a nation of moderate Islam, his struggle for re-election in April 2019 has prevented his opposition to the radical Islamic groups. Widodo and other moderate politicians fear losing the support of the Islamic conservatives, who have a growing influence throughout the nation.
 
Indonesia has been a nation that markets itself as one united by diversity. The Muslim-majority country shares its territory with Christian, Hindu and Buddhist minorities, whom have all lived semi-harmoniously in a secular state.
 

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