Travel Warning: Indonesia is Anti-Gay
Don’t be fooled in to thinking Bali is some special Buddhist Island, Bali is part of Indonesia and it is an increasingly dangerous place to be Gay. If you are Gay it is probably best to skip Bali, if you do not like a regime that deliberately oppresses Gay people, it is probably best to skip Bali.
Despite Indonesia’s reputation as a somewhat moderate Muslim country, in recent years, sharia-supporting terrorist fundamentalist Muslim groups have gained more and more support. As a result, LGBT people and non-Muslims (including Christians and Buddhists) have faced growing hostility and intolerance including attacks and discrimination.
In early 2016, LGBT people and activists in Indonesia faced fierce opposition, homophobic attacks, and hate speech, even launched by Indonesian authorities.
In February 2016, Human Rights Watch urged the Indonesian Government to defend the rights of LGBT people and publicly condemn officials’ discriminatory remarks. In 2017, two young gay men (aged 20 and 23) were sentenced to being caned in front of public in the Aceh province.
In 2017, police launched multiple raids on gay saunas under the pretext of pornography-related offences. In May 2017, 141 men were arrested for a “gay sex party” in the capital Jakarta. Another raid took place in October 2017, when Indonesian police raided a sauna in Central Jakarta popular with gay men, arresting 51 people. An over-broad interpretation of the Pornography Act, coupled with government inaction, has enabled the police to use it in targeting LGBT people.
On 14 December 2017, the Constitutional Court of Indonesia issued a 5-4 ruling rejecting a petition by the conservative Family Love Alliance which sought to amend the Indonesian Criminal Code to make gay sex and sex outside of marriage illegal. There were three articles of the Indonesian Criminal Code (KUHP) petitioned for review, namely article 248 on adultery, article 285 on rape, and article 292 on child abuse. Under article 292 of the Criminal Code, child sexual abuse is a crime, both heterosexual or homosexual conducts. The petitioner sought to erase the term “underage” in article 292, in order to persecute all same-sex sexual conducts of all ages, including among consenting adults. Which meant the petitioner sought to criminalize homosexuality. The court rejected to amend the law, and held that the issue was a matter for the Indonesian Legislature. A criminal code draft is to be tabled in 5 Feb 2018.
Most of major political parties and politicians remain silent in the cause of LGBT rights. Islamist parties like PKS (Prosperous Justice Party) and PPP (United Development Party) speak strongly against LGBT rights, and went further to propose a national bill to criminalise LGBT. In March 2016, PKS and PPP have proposed an anti-LGBT bill to ban LGBT activism, and criminalise LGBT rights and behaviour. PAN (National Mandate Party), despite sharing anti-LGBT right sentiments with PKS and PPP however, has asked people not to discriminate and harassed LGBT community. But in return, urged LGBT people not to promote LGBT rights in Indonesia.
Vice President Jusuf Kalla continued the onslaught against the LGBT community by calling on the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) not to finance LGBT community programs in Indonesia.
Sjaiful Mujani Research and Consulting published results from its survey that found that a whopping 87 percent of the population considered the LGBT community to be a deviant group.