Indonesia gay sex law

Indonesia’s New Gay Sex Law Could Criminalize Private Encounters Between Men Come April

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CNN reports that Indonesia’s parliament could pass a bill criminalizing same-sex sexual encounters and premarital sex as early as April. The bill and Indonesia‘s recent anti-LGBTQ crackdown both coincide with the coming June 2018 gubernatorial and April 2019 presidential elections as politicians grow increasingly fearful of the island nation’s powerful, conservative Islamic leaders. But even though one politician claims the Indonesia gay sex law won’t persecute private sex acts, recent events in Indonesia suggest otherwise.

One of the bill’s latest drafts reportedly punishes publicly “obscene acts” with someone of the same gender with a fine and up to 18 months in jail. “If the acts are ‘publicized in the form of pornography,'” CNN adds, “the sentence could be up to nine years,” however CNN says that the current draft doesn’t define what constitutes “an obscene act,” potentially leaving the law vague and open to abuse.

Ichsan Soelistio, a lawmaker with the liberal Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, says that the law will not criminalize private same-sex relationships. However, other developments in the country raise serious doubts.

Indonesia gay sex law 02
A gay man being caned in Aceh in 2017

As of now, Indonesia doesn’t criminalize gay sex, and in December 2017 the country’s high court refused to criminalize it. Homosexuality is only illegal right now in the province of Aceh. A 2014 penal code in Aceh outlaws same-sex relationships between male and female couples, making it punishable by caning, 100 months in jail or a $35,000 fine.

A recently caned gay couple were discovered when neighbors broke into their apartment while the two men were privately having sex. Aceh police also recently arrested 12 transgender women and shaved their heads to “make them men” even though the women were peacefully patronizing a local hair salon.

Furthermore, Indonesia’s crackdown on its LGBTQ citizens has been going on for nearly three years now. In May 2017, police in the capitol city arrested 141 men in a gay sauna (pictured in the feature image above) accusing them of violating Indonesia’s pornography laws and running a gay prostitution ring — even though the men were privately having sex.

In short, Indonesia has publicly prosecuted private gay sex even without an official gay sex law. We should expect things to only get worse if the law passes.

What do you think of the Indonesia gay sex law? Sound off in the comments.