Indonesia Could Criminalize Homosexuality By Valentine’s Day

Photo by Pablo Padilla on Unsplash

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.

Leave a Comment