Indonesia’s plans to make it illegal to be gay put on hold, for now

Indonesia's plans to make it illegal to be gay put on hold, for now

Posed by models from the film Karelayon: My Mom’s Lover. | Photo: YouTube via GMA Network

Indonesia’s plans to criminalize homosexuality have been put on hold giving the country’s LGBTI community a much needed respite.

Indonesia’s House of Representatives is currently debating proposed amendments to the criminal code (KUHP). Some of those amendments include criminalizing same-sex relations and premarital sex, and broadening the definition of adultery.

The Bill was initially tabled for debate in February. It was delayed then because politicians wanted more time to hash out controversial parts of the Bill. Those controversial components did not include criminalizing homosexuality.

But now the debate will resume again in another two to three months.

‘We are giving more time in the next two or three months for the public to provide feedback on the bill to us,’ said Teuku Taufiqulhadi, a legislator from the National Democratic Party, told the Bangkok Post.

Indonesia used to be more tolerant

Indonesia’s LGBTI community has faced unprecedented levels of persecution and violence since January 2016. The rise in persecution comes as conservative Islamic groups gain more influence in the country.

Police have arrested hundreds of men at ‘gay parties’, trans women are rounded up and are forced to ‘act like men’ and vigilantes have raided the homes of suspected LGBTI people across the country.

Last year, images of the caning of two men convicted of homosexuality in Aceh shocked the world. It also unveiled the crackdown the community is facing.

Plans to criminalize homosexuality in the once tolerant Indonesia were an unexpected escalation of the crackdown.

Leaders across the Southeast Asian region have pleaded with Indonesia not to criminalize homosexuality.

‘These amendments are a blatant violation of all Indonesians’ right to privacy and their fundamental liberties,’ said ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) board member and Filipino MP Teddy Baguilat in February.

‘It is extremely worrying that private affairs between two consenting, law-abiding adults could very soon be opened to government interference and scrutiny.’

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