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A wave of homophobia in Indonesia

Monday 7 March 2016, by siawi3


Monday 29 February 2016,


Table of contents

Minister: LGBT Movement (...)
Indonesian psychiatrists (...)
The LGBT debate and the (...)
Police bow to pressure (...)
Transgender Muslims in (...)

Minister: LGBT Movement More Dangerous than Nuclear Warfare

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Indonesia’s Defense Minister, Ryamizard Ryacudu, has labelled the emergence of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) movement in Indonesia as a form of a proxy war to subtly undermine the sovereignty of a state - without the need to deploy a military force.

“I wrote about the subject 15 years ago - this is a kind of a modern warfare,” said Ryacudu at the Ministry of Defense’s Building on Tuesday, February 23, 2016. “It’s the cheapest kind of war there is.”

According to Ryacudu, the LGBT agenda is a latent threat to Indonesia’s sovereignty, as it forces Indonesia to deal with states who support the LGBT agenda under the guise of human rights observance. Ryacudu continued that the state needs to be more cautious in reacting to the demands of LGBT communities for equality before the law.

“It’s dangerous as we can’t see who our foes are, but out of the blue everyone is brainwashed - now the (LGBT) community is demanding more freedom, it really is a threat,” said the former Chief-of-Staff for the Indonesian Armed Forces (TNI-AD).

“In a proxy war - another state might have occupied the minds of the nation without anyone realising it,” continued Ryacudu. “In a nuclear war, if a bomb is dropped over Jakarta, Semarang will not be affected - but in a proxy war, everything we know could disappear in an instant - it’s dangerous.”

Ryacudu added that modern warfare needs no weaponry - as it is an ideology-based warfare. “This sort of brainwashing is dangerous, as it skews the mindset of our nation away from our base ideology,” he said.


* TUESDAY, 23 FEBRUARY, 2016 | 18:14 WIB:

Indonesian psychiatrists label LGBT as mental disorders

Liza Yosephine

The leading Indonesian psychiatric body has classified homosexuality, bisexuality and transgenderism as mental disorders, which it says can be cured through proper treatment.

Indonesian Psychiatrists Association (PDSKJI) member Suzy Yusna Dewi said that most of the time, the aforementioned sexual tendencies were triggered by external factors, such as the influence of a person’s social environment, and therefore they could be healed through psychiatric treatment.

“We really do care about them. What we are worried about is, if left untreated, such sexual tendencies could become a commonly accepted condition in society,” Suzy told on Tuesday.

She made comments about the association’s recent statement to address rising concerns about the growing prominence of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, which has drawn sharp criticism from government and religious leaders.

Referring to Law No.18/2014 on Mental Health and the association’s Mental Health and Mental Disorder Diagnostic Guidelines, the PDSKJI categorizes homosexuals and bisexuals as “people with psychiatric problems”, while transgender people have “mental disorders”.

According to this classification, a psychiatric problem is condition in which a person is at risk of developing a mental disorder.

A person with mental disorder will develop physical symptoms and behavior that may affect their welfare and social functioning.

The PDSKJI said that psychiatric problems of homosexuals and bisexuals and mental disorders of transgender people had nothing to do with schizophrenia or other conditions such as intersex , or an anomaly in a person’s genetic or chromosomal makeup.

Commenting on the issue of homosexuality and bisexuality, Suzy said there was not enough data to support the idea that the conditions were caused by biological factors, adding that limiting inappropriate social interaction could be effective in curbing such abnormal sexual tendencies.

The psychiatrist further said proper interventions were crucial in curing psychiatric problems and mental disorders. She said that a person’s sexual appetite was a mental issue similar in nature to drug addiction.

“Without constant intervention, a person can easily return to their previous sexual tendency once he or she experiences withdrawal,” Suzy said.

She stressed the importance of upholding national values and norms. “We must respect Indonesian traditions, which culturally do not accept same-sex marriage, and we should not bow to the influence of foreign values that may not fit in with our values,” said Suzy.

On May 17, 1990, the World Health Organization (WHO) removed homosexuality from its list of psychiatric disorders.

In support of WHO’s stance, Chatarina Wahyurini of the Indonesia Planned Parenthood Association (PKBI) said her organization recognized the existence of people with different orientations and did not view them as having disorders.

Referring to its stance on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, Wahyurini said the PKBI called for an end to discrimination of minority groups. She urged the government to take a more serious approach to providing protection and security to every citizen regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Repeating what was stated in a press statement released by the PKBI on Monday, Wahyurini referred to Indonesia’s national ideology, Pancasila, which she said guaranteed and protected diversity. The 1945 Constitution also protects the right of every Indonesian citizen to be protected from any form of discrimination.

Wahyurini said the LGBT community should have equal access to public services and space needed to freely express their identity, participate in dialogue and to contribute to the nation in a positive manner. (ebf)

-, Jakarta | National | Wed, February 24 2016, 4:04 PM:

The LGBT debate and the fear of ‘gerakan’

Intan Paramaditha, Sydney

The LGBT debate in Indonesia today speaks volumes about different kinds of fear. It reflects the fear of the dissolution of heteronormative values and national morality, which, since the Reform Era, have been embedded within a conservative interpretation of religion.

It also tells about the anxiety regarding the idea of the nation, now experienced as wildly heterogeneous and elusive rather than cohesive. Entangled in these fears is another fear: the fear of gerakan (movement).

In his 2004 article, anthropologist Tom Boellstorff examines an attack perpetrated by the Ka’bah Youth Movement Muslim group on an LGBT event in Kaliurang, at the foot of Mt. Merapi in Yogyakarta. He coins the term “political homophobia” to describe the emotional rage that emerges in response to a threat to normative masculinity that represents the nation.

Changes have happened since Boellstorff published the article. Political homophobia is not only expressed on streets but also in the towers, exemplified by the controversial (now withdrawn) statement of Research, Technology and Higher Education Minister Muhammad Nasir, who called for LGBT communities to be banned from campuses.

Boellstorff’s article, however, remains relevant to remind us that sexuality is never a matter of sex per se. In Indonesia especially, it projects desire and fear in ways that illuminate how the nation is envisioned. Which bodies represent the nation? Who has the right to claim national belonging?

In the context of the nation, the phrase Gerakan LGBT (LGBT Movement) is often used to signify the national limit. Gerakan suggests transgression of a safe zone, a space when a harmless entity that we can “tolerate” transforms into a national other.

Activist Fahira Idris states that LGBT in Indonesia has metamorphosed from “individual acts” into “a massive and organized movement.” Similarly, Bandung Mayor Ridwan Kamil says he has no problem with the private matters of LGBT individuals. What concerns him is when LGBT communities promote their movement through social media.

The fear of Gerakan LGBT is precisely the fear of what is stipulated in Article 28 of the Constitution, “the freedom to associate and to assemble.” It is the fear of publicness.

There are deceitful and conspiring ghosts that we cannot fully capture when we translate gerakan as “movement”. We have been trained to be suspicious of gerakan. Something is always lurking underneath, ungraspable, threatening there.

Gerakan in Indonesian induces a memory of disturbance. The government used the term Gerakan Pengacau Keamanan (Security Disturbing Movement) to stigmatize separatist movements as mobs endangering the nation. Our memory is filled with film, museum, and textbooks on the Sept. 30 Movement, which refers to an aborted coup attempt by the Indonesian Communist Party.

The New Order then instilled the fear of remnants of the communist party through the acronym OTB, Organisasi Tanpa Bentuk (organization without form). A strange term indeed, and it must be understood in how Indonesians imagine a specter, which is formless, but can take on any form: woman, child, your neighbor, etc. Therefore every gerakan has the potential to morph into an OTB.

LGBT movement might appear as a fight against discrimination, but something may be hidden underneath: a grand design that threatens national unity. Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu calls the LGBT movement as a latent threat: “It’s dangerous as we can’t see who our foes are.” The fear of gerakan is therefore the fear of the unknown.

Gerakan politik (political movement) is a treacherous hybrid creature as we have learned to distrust both words: gerakan and politics. Therefore, the 1998 student movement was a moral rather than political movement because politics is about ambition, not conscience.

Politics is not normal, hence the Soeharto government “normalized” the student movement through the Normalization of Campus Life (NKK/BKK) program. For a long time, normal meant depoliticized.

And alas, LGBT movement is anything but normal, in both the heteronormative sense and the New Order-esque paradigm of politics. Is the LGBT movement political? It certainly is, and there is no reason why it should not be.

There is no way to change perspectives in society without political goals. How could groups bring attention to the assault of LGBT people or the corrective rape happening to lesbians if the language in legal terms had not changed? Thus, in the 2008 Pornography Law, homosexuality is included in the deviant acts of sexuality

Unfortunately, anti-LGBT groups have failed to grasp what Dede Oetomo and his group GAYaNUSANTARA have done for decades.

The political goals of the LGBT movement have been falsely framed as “LGBT propaganda”, which means advertising an “LGBT lifestyle” (often described as hedonistic and hypersexual), or in Minister Nasir’s term, having sex or showing affection on campus.

Confining LGBT issues to the private realm seems to be a safe middle ground for everyone. By proclaiming that they have no problem with non-normative sexualities as long as they remain private, anti-LGBT activists and public officials will sound “tolerant”, if not less homophobic. On the other hand, those who are sympathetic toward LGBT groups prefer to call attention to urgent matters (e.g. research facilities at universities) rather than private sexual orientation.

“There is nothing more public than privacy,” as Michael Warner and Lauren Berlant put it. Sex in Indonesia is not, and will never be, a private matter. The state has the authority to regulate, and hence to make public, all things we want to consider private.

In a time when the contestation of legitimacy is fierce, as shown by the recent Indonesian Psychiatric Association statement that categorizes LGBT people as sufferers of mental disorders, institutions of higher education should strategically deploy their influential position and take a position of intellectual integrity. They should, in the tradition of critical thinking, unpack what the LGBT movement is, why it emerged and why it is feared. They should ensure a space for intellectual public discourse on the LGBT movement instead of participating in the recreation of a normalized, depoliticized civil society.

An analysis of the gerakan should begin by acknowledging its right to be in the public instead pushing it to the private realm. As we have learned from the OTB scare, what is invisible creates more fear: the fear of a formless specter.

* The writer, who gained a PhD from New York University, is a fiction author and scholar focusing on media, culture and sexual politics. She teaches at Macquarie University, Sydney.

* Jakarta Post | Opinion | Sat, February 27 2016, 9:44 AM:

Police bow to pressure from hardliners, again

Agnes Anya

In the latest of several such incidents in the past three months, the Jakarta Police have failed to uphold their impartiality by refusing to protect a small group of people who planned to organize a festival of leftist thinking in Taman Ismail Marzuki (TIM), Cikini, Central Jakarta.

The festival themed the Belok Kiri (Turn Left) Festival, was initially set to be held in the TIM cultural center from Feb. 27 to March 5 to accommodate history enthusiasts, who wanted to share thoughts about leftist history in Indonesia.

However, on Friday TIM management, the Jakarta Arts Center (PKJ), had a change of heart and decided to withdraw its permission for the event following opposition from various mass organizations, such as Jakarta’s Indonesia Islam Youth Movement, the Jakarta Activist Front and Duta Legal Aid Institute.

On Saturday, the police deployed around 200 personnel to disperse the festival’s committee members, who were about to hold a press conference to deliver their response to the on-going opposition, following a demonstration staged by around 50 members of the mass organizations.

As a result, the committee eventually held the press conference using a loud hailer in the parking lot of the cultural center, as well as canceling a discussion and a book launch, which had been scheduled for Saturday afternoon.

“We will fight back against the opposition by using an intellectual approach, instead of the physical approach that these mass organizations use,” said one of the committee members, Dytha Caturani on Saturday.

Dytha further denied allegations by the mass organizations, who claimed that the festival was held to “hail left-wing ideology in Indonesia”.

“We, instead, want to raise critical thinking among the people regarding our history, which has been manipulated by the New Order regime for its political interests,” Dytha said.

The committee insisted on proceeding with their plans as they went on to open the event at the office of the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute in Central Jakarta.

They also continued with the series of events by means of several improvisations to the schedule, which can be found on their Twitter account @BelokKiri_Fest.

Separately, Jakarta Police spokesman Sr. Comr. Mohammad Iqbal said the police had to stop the event because the committee had not informed the police.

Moreover, he added, a brawl could potentially break out between the organizers and the mass organizations if the committee insisted on proceeding without permission from the police. Therefore, the police had to step in.

The Belok Kiri Festival is not the first gathering to have been dispersed by the police as a result of pressure from hard-line organizations.

Earlier this month, the police bowed to the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) by shutting down a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) group’s closed workshop at the Cemara Hotel in Menteng, Central Jakarta.

In December, the police canceled a discussion and the reading of a drama script about the 1965 communist purge after the FPI blocked the events, which they said “harmed nationalism”.

In November, the police decided not to give the go-ahead for a discussion on terrorism set to be held by the Association of Journalists for Diversity (Sejuk) after the FPI expressed its objection to the event’s poster depicting the Islamic State movement’s flag next to the FPI’s official logo.

* The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Headlines | Sun, February 28 2016, 7:07 AM

Transgender Muslims in fear after school shutdown

Bambang Muryanto

Students at Al Fatah Pesantren Waria, an Islamic boarding school for transgender students, in Yogyakarta are living in fear after the forced closure of their religious education facility following pressure from a hardline group.

The students were tight-lipped when asked by journalists to comment on the situation and went straight to their rooms at an old Javanese house in Jagalan subdistrict, Banguntapan district, where they live and learn about the Koran and Islam.

The school’s director, Shinta Ratri, also refused to talk to journalists, saying that she had no plans for the school in the near future.

“I’m still exhausted and want to calm down,” Shinta, who is a bridal stylist, said in a text message over the weekend.

“Life must go on. I have to work.”

Last Wednesday, a meeting involving local administration officials, residents, Shinta and members of the hardline Islamist group Islamic Jihad Front (FJI) Yogyakarta decided to shut down the school.

The meeting, which was held at the Jagalan subdistrict hall, also agreed to forbid any religious activities at the school.

Banguntapan district head Jati Bayu Broto, who was also the moderator of the meeting, said the decision had been made because the school did not have a license to operate and locals had complained about late-night karaoke and parking problems. It was also claimed that alcoholic drinks had been found at the school.

Wednesday’s meeting was a follow-up to FJI’s visit to Al Fatah on Feb. 19. FJI reportedly visited the school to learn about the school’s activities. However, when the FJI arrived at Al Fatah, the school’s management had gone to a police station to report a message allegedly sent by the FJI stating that the group wanted to seal the school.

Aditya Arief Hermanto of the Yogyakarta Legal Aid Foundation (LBH) said the decision to close down the school was a human rights violation.

“The right [of transgender students] to get an education has been denied,” he told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.

Aditya deplored the Banguntapan Police for ignoring the school’s report of intimidation by the hardline Islamic group. The FJI circulated on social media a message stating that the group intended to forcibly seal the school.

“The police rejected the report, arguing that they had no cyber unit,” Aditia said.

“For that reason, they should’ve used the Criminal Code as a legal basis to investigate the suspected perpetrators.”

Banguntapan Police chief Comr. Suharno confirmed that his office had no cyber unit and suggested that the school report the case to the Bantul Police or the headquarters of the Yogyakarta Police.

“We will accompany them to report the case,” Suharno said.

Waria is a portmanteau of the Indonesian words for woman (wanita) and man (pria) and is often used to describe transgender women.

Yogyakarta’s Al Fatah was originally located in the Notoyudan area before it was moved to Jagalan after the death of Maryani, the school’s founder, in 2014.

Maryani received local and international media attention in 2008 when she transformed her home into a place for transgender people to study Islam.

After Maryani’s death, the school moved to a house belonging to Shinta Ratri, a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) activist. Dozens of students study together under the same roof and some of them also live there.

Meanwhile, activists who supported the school also said that they were cooling down after the closure.

“We fear for the safety of the students and our volunteers,” Indonesian Family Planning Association Yogyakarta chapter director Gama Triono said.

The school’s supervisor, Abdul Muhaimin, said he would try to re-establish the school. Muhaimin rejected the argument that the school was unlicensed and disturbed neighboring residents.

“Why does learning Islam need a permit? If it’s about the parking, we can manage it. A parking issue should not disturb their rights to get an education,” he said.

* The Jakarta Post, Yogyakarta | Headlines | Mon, February 29 2016, 6:57 AM: