Anti-Gay Government

Indonesia Could Criminalize Homosexuality By Valentine's Day

The situation in Indonesia is getting worse by the day.

Indonesia used to be considered a relatively liberal country, besides the intensely religious province known as Aceh, but it's quickly becoming dangerous for LGBTQ people.

While homosexuality is currently legal in the country (and the country’s president defended LGBTQ rights just last year), the country has been growing animosity towards LGBTQ people.

Not only has discussion of criminalizing homosexuality become a frequent occurrence for the country, but increasing instances of anti-gay sentiment from the government has caused a lot of concern.

This has led to developments like lawmakers banning depictions of LGBTQ people on television (including documentaries and even news coverage), and multiple arrests like the two men from last week.

Now, it seems that Google has taken down 73 popular LGBTQ-related apps from Indonesia’s Google Play Store at the request of the government.

Communications ministry spokesperson Noor Iza confirmed on Wednesday that one app taken down was Blued, which has 27 million users globally. Their reasoning? They say the app contained pornography.

"There was some negative content related to pornography inside the application," Iza told AFP.

"Probably one or some members of the application put the pornographic content inside."

That said, it seems several LGBTQ-related apps remain on Indonesia’s version of the Apple app store with no word of when or if they’d be taken down.

On top of that, 13 transwomen were captured by officials in the sharia law ruled Aceh. Their heads were shaven and they were ordered to dress and talk like men.

Lastly, it seems the country’s government is ready to push forward with criminalizing homosexuality.

“Some have even said they will be doing it on February 14,” activist Kate Walton told ABC. “A lot of people have seen the irony between that being Valentine’s Day (due to its Western origins) and the potential for raids on boarding houses, houses and apartments to catch couples having sex outside of marriage.”

No matter when, it looks like homosexuality will be criminalized in Indonesia soon and the country is taking a nosedive in its treatment of LGBTQ people.

Indonesian Police Arrested Two Men Over A Leaked Gay Sex Tape

In a time when Indonesia is cracking down on gay and bisexual men, a gay sex video was somehow uploaded online. As you might guess, things didn’t end well for the two men starring in the video.

Police in the city of Depok, arrested the two men this past Saturday after a random citizen reported the video to authorities.

“They have been arrested and detained," Depok police spokesman Putu Kholis Aryana told AFP.

"We will apply the law on pornography and the electronic information and transactions (ITE) law."

While homosexuality and gay sex are legal in Indonesia, except for in the highly religious Aceh province, there is an ever growing toxic attitude towards gay men in the country.

As such, the police have been cracking down on gay and bisexual men while using other laws to excuse their actions.

This includes multiple raids on “gay sex” parties with the exuse of having sex in (semi) public, the deletion of gay apps from phone services with the excuse of the general public having access to them, and now the imprisonment of these two men because of a gay sex tape from who knows how long ago.

Our thoughts go out to gay and bisexual men in Indonesia, and we will keep you updated on the situation there.

h/t: Rappler

Bermuda Abolished Gay Marriage (After 6 Months Of Legalizing It)

Last month, we reported to you that Bermuda's government was considering banning gay marriage despite only legalizing it earlier this year.

Gay marriage came to the island in May after gay couple Winston Godwin and Greg DeRoche (shown above) fought several court battles to gain its legalization.

That said, the government wasn't ready to stop and the Minister of Home Affairs, named Walton Brown, introduced the “Domestic Partnership Bill.”

That bill, though unable to affect already married couples, now makes it so that any new couples can only get “domestic partnerships” and not an actual marriage. (Plus, straight couples can opt for these partnerships instead of marriage too).

The government supports the bill by saying domestic partners will supposedly keep all the legal rights that married couples do, and the government gets to keep its definition of marriage.

The bill was officially approved this past weekend by the Bermuda House with 24 votes for the bill and 10 against it.

The passed bill, now called the "Domestic Partnerships Act 2017" has been a divisive topic since its introduction.

Though Walton Brown was open to hearing citizens and politicians share their thoughts on the topic, the many differing views (like the five hours of debate on the day of the House voting) did not stop the bill's passing.

Progressive Labour Party backbencher Lawrence Scott said the bill gives “the LGBTQ community the benefits it has been asking for”, but maintains “the traditional definition of marriage”.

Adding: “As it stands now, they can have the name marriage but without the benefits. But after this Bill passes, they have the benefits and just not the name marriage. The benefits are what they really want.”

Shadow home affairs minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin spoke against the bill. She says that its wrong for the government to take away a right that was only given a couple months ago.

“I don’t like to accept that it is OK for us to treat our sisters and brothers differently, whether fair or unfair, to treat them differently under similar circumstances.”

In addition, this doesn't just affect Bermuda's citizens, but its frequent traveler base as well.

Several cruises set for Bermuda have booked weddings with same-sex couples that will now need to be canceled.

200 Sri Lankan Men Say Government Officials Raped And Tortured Them

Almost 200 men in Sri Lanka are accusing the government of torture and rape, as reported by the AP.

Several men within the Tamil ethnic minority group became suspects of the government and were assumed to be a part of militant group, the Tamil Tigers.

These men report that they were captured and blindfolded by government officials before being taken to a torture room where they were branded with tiger stripes, tortured, and raped.

One man says that he was held in a small room for three weeks. In that room, he was burned with cigarettes, beaten with iron rods, and raped at least a dozen times.

Meanwhile, others recount that they were sexually assaulted in multiple ways such as being forced to touch the genitals of their torturers or assaulted with sticks rapped in barbed wire.

Human rights investigator Piers Pigou shared his horror at the tales of atrocities happening in Sri Lanka.

“The levels of sexual abuse being perpetuated in Sri Lanka by authorities are the most egregious and perverted that I’ve ever seen,” he said.

Keep in mind that the civil war between the Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan government ended in 2009, which raises suspicions on why some of the men were taken in the first place. For instance, one victim is only 19, making his involvement in a war that ended 8 years ago suspect.

To escape, many of the victims are seeking asylum in Europe while many are resorting to suicide attempts.

But, of course, the Sri Lankan government denies these claims and any involvement with the torture.

“The army was not involved,” says Army Commander Lt. Gen. Mahesh Senanayake. “I’m sure that police also were not involved. There’s no reason for us to do that now.”

In addition, the Sri Lankan government has been trying to put on a good face for its international affairs since the end of the war. This includes outlawing anti-LGBTQ discrimination and planning to decriminalize homosexuality all together.

The UN has praised the country’s turn of policy, but perhaps that will change soon now that these accounts of torture and rape are coming out.

Egyptian Authorities Are Using Grindr To Lure & Arrest Gay Men

The anti-gay crackdown in Egypt is getting hotter and hotter as each day goes and now Grindr users might want to get off the app if they want to stay safe.

Just last week, we shared that Grindr was sharing information on how to stay safe with users in the country of Egypt. But, it looks like the app may be more of a liability than a help now.

Apparently, Egyptian police are luring gay men to hotels while using Grindr and arresting them on the spot.

This information was shared by gender rights researcher Dalia Abdel-Hameed who released police reports outlining a “cultivation” technique in which authorities lure gay men to traps through dating apps.

"It's related to the fact that men are using apps more than women and an obsession of who is being penetrated," Ms Abdel-Hameed said.

"There is this penetration mania in Egypt due to religious reasons, mostly."

More than 60 people have been arrested in the country after a rainbow flag was raised at a concert in Cairo.

The flag raising which was only meant as a symbol of gay pride at a rock concert where the lead singer is gay, has caused a major crackdown on LGBTQ rights in the country.

"It was just a concert. It wasn't even a pride parade and we weren't even calling for our rights. This action was so over the top and I was so shocked," said Transgender woman Jasmine, 25, to The Age in reaction to the ongoing situation in Egypt.

In addition to the continual arrests, an Egyptian politician has introduced a bill to parliament that would make being gay illegal in the country.

The Second Highest Ranked Senator Endorsed A Candidate Who Wants To Make Being Gay Illegal

It seems that a bunch of anti-gay Republicans are getting political positions of power in the country’s capital.

First, our president jokes that the vice president wants to hang all gay people, and now our Majority Whip is openly endorsing a man who wants to make being gay illegal.

John Cornyn from Texas is essentially the second highest ranked Republican in the Senate with the position of Majority Whip. And now, Cornyn has endorsed Alabam’s Roy Moore.

Roy Moore is one of the candidates running in a special election to fill a Senate seat that was left by now Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

“Alabamians will soon elect a new U.S. Senator and I hope they will vote for the candidate who will follow in former Senator Sessions’ footsteps as a tireless advocate led by principle rather than politics,” Cornyn said according to the Daily Caller, “That is why I am proud to offer my support to Judge Roy Moore for U.S. Senate. I look forward to working with him to pass legislation that will effect meaningful change for all Americans.”

The problem is that Moore is known for being highly controversial.

Moore is so controversial that he was kicked out of his role of chief justice in the Alabama’s state Supreme Court because he refused to honor federal laws.

In addition, Moore has very hostile thoughts on LGBTQ and Muslim people. In 2015, he said that homosexuality should be illegal and considered equal to bestiality.

He’s called homosexuality “an inherent evil” and says gay people, “practice an immoral act that less than 40 years ago was not to be mentioned in polite public circles.”

When asked about Moore’s beliefs on homosexuality, Senate Majority Whip Cornyn said, “I don’t have to agree with somebody to support them over the Democratic nominee. I support the nominee of my party.”

Then when asked about Moore’s sentiment that people like Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison shouldn’t be in Congress because he’s Muslim, Cornyn responded, “I have disagreement within my own family, doesn’t mean I care for them any less, so I support the nominee of my party.”

It seems that if Cornyn might want to consider that party loyalty isn't always the answer.

Gay Men Share Their Experiences Of Being Tortured In Azerbaijan

Several men have shared their experiences about the anti-LGBTQ crackdown happening in the country of Azerbaijan.

One anonymous man told Radio Free Europe that he was tortured for nine days.

 “They gave me electric shocks.”

“They beat me with a stick on my knees. I couldn’t move afterwards.”

This man was one of dozens of gay and transgender people who have been arrested and tortured in the country. Many of which are being abused, beaten, forced into medical tests, and more. Including, trans women having their heads forcibly shaven.

As with many of the countries where these crackdowns are currently happening (like Egypt or Tajikistan), being gay is not illegal. That said, a stigma spread by conservative mentality is allowing for these internal terroristic actions to happen.

Authorities have been claiming that the LGBTQ people they captured are involved with sex work, which most have denied, in order to arrest them.

Activists have been calling for the cease and desist of this wrongful treatment of LGBTQ people in Azerbaijan, but to no avail yet.