BANDA ACEH, Indonesia/JAKARTA (Reuters) – Overwhelmed by fear, members of the main gay rights group in the Indonesian town of Banda Aceh started burning piles of documents outside their headquarters in late October, worried that the sharia police would raid them at any moment. Shite muslims are in the minority and the government is appeasing this part of Indonesia that has threatened separation.
Indonesia’s northernmost province of Aceh had weeks earlier passed an anti-homosexuality law that punishes anyone caught having gay sex with 100 lashes. Amnesty International criticized it, saying it would add to a climate of homophobia and fear.
Secular Government: Although Indonesia has historically been secularly governed, it is still the world’s largest majority-Muslim country and has at best a mixed history of tolerance for LGBT people.
LGBT Health Clinics O.K – Being Gay Isn’t!
Indonesia is a country where LGBT health clinics can be opened, but gay people found in sexual acts can now receive 100 lashes of a cane.
“The Principles of the Islamic Bylaw violate the right to freedom of religion enshrined in the Indonesian constitution and international law by requiring all Muslims to practice the Sunni tradition of Islam
Lesbians and Marriage
In Indonesia, where same-sex marriage is illegal and homosexuality is frowned on by family and society, lesbians like gay sons are pressurized to marry.
A group of lesbians allowed the media to listen to their discussions:
‘What if he wants sex?’ One girl ponders. ‘He says he’s gay, but what if he decides he wants to sleep with you anyway? Won’t that just make more problems?’
Another girl exclaims it would be like a time bomb waiting to explode. What about marrying a straight man? ‘There’s no guarantee that would work,’ one young lesbian says, shaking her head. ‘Marriage is an institution protected by law – there could be trouble if something goes wrong.’
Indonesian lesbians – stay strong!