LIFESTYLE

Warning from Indonesia: Survey finds most Indonesians feel ‘threatened’ by LGBT community

Eighty-seven percent of them considered the LGBT community a “threat to private or public life”. A similar proportion disagreed that an LGBT individual should be able to hold a leading public office, and said that they believed their religion prohibited LGBT activity.

For those (planning to) head to Indonesia, be warned.

Nearly 90 percent of Indonesians who understand the term “LGBT” claimed that they feel “threatened” by the community and believe their religion forbids same-sex relations. This is according to a survey by the Saiful Mujani Research Centre, which stated that “generally, the Indonesian public views the LGBT (community) negatively.”

A total of 1,220 people of various religious backgrounds across Indonesia were included in the survey conducted between March 2016 and December 2017. Eighty-seven percent of them considered the LGBT community a “threat to private or public life”. A similar proportion disagreed that an LGBT individual should be able to hold a leading public office, and said that they believed their religion prohibited LGBT activity.

Interestingly, those surveyed also held the view that “the LGBT community has the right to live in Indonesia and that the government should protect them like other citizens.”

The survey also found that around half the respondents did not know the meaning of the term “LGBT”. The results were based on those who did. Half of those aware of the term said the government should protect the LGBT community.

Homosexuality is – per se – not regulated by law in Indonesia, except in Aceh province where Islamic law bans same-sex relations. However, hostility toward the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) is commonplace. Indonesian police, for instance, raid “spas” for what they call “gay sex parties” and charged many of those involved with violating pornography laws. Over 300 people were arrested in 2017 for alleged LGBT-related behavior, according to Human Rights Watch. More recently, transgender women were shaved in public and then forced to dress as men”.

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