Will gay sex be illegal Indonesia?

Rappler.com
Will gay sex be illegal Indonesia?
A group of individuals is pushing to criminalize same-sex intercourse, even if it were consensual

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Gay sex may become illegal in Indonesia, if a push by activists and academics to change the law is succesful.

The Constitutional Court is currently hearing a case filed by a group of anti-LGBT individuals, who want to change the Criminal Code to ban gay sex.

The law currently allows homosexuality, but prohibits same-sex intercourse only if one person is a minor. Breaking the law is punishable by 5 years in prison.

The plaintiffs want this law changed, so it does not only apply to homosexual intercourse with minors, but homosexual intercourse in general.

Specifically, they want to change the words in the law, which bans intercourse between “adults” and “minors” of the same sex, to ban intercourse between “people” of the same sex – thus making illegal homosexual activity, even if it were consensual. 

There have been 5 hearings so far on the matter, with plaintiffs summoning experts to testify to the court that homosexuality could increase incidents of HIV, or that homosexuality is contagious.

In an interview with Jakarta Post, one of the plaintiffs, Rita Hendrawaty of the Family Love Alliance, is quoted as saying that “the LGBT community is spreading propaganda to make it seem as if casual sex or same-sex relationships are OK.”

The push to change the law, comes in the heels of an aggressive anti-LGBT drive in recent months. 

Problematic

The small gay community in conservative, Muslim-majority Indonesia has been facing a sudden and unexpected backlash, with ministers and religious leaders denouncing homosexuality, LGBT websites blocked and emboldened hardliners launching anti-gay raids.

Homosexuality is generally taboo in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation and gay people have in the past suffered verbal and physical attacks.

However it is legal in most of the country, with a notable exception being ultraconservative Aceh province, and homosexuals have mostly been able to quietly get on with their lives.

It is unclear why the recent furor has gained such momentum, but it follows a push by religious leaders and conservative politicians to bolster public morality in Indonesia, with crackdowns on prostitution and the availability of drugs and alcohol.

Meanwhile, Hendri Yulius, the author of Coming Out, and a lecturer of gender and sexuality studies, said the proposal is problematic. For one, the definition of homosexual proposed by the plaintiffs is “vague.”

“What does it refer to? Does it refer to identity? Does it refer to sexual practices in which anal sex is not the monopoly of gay people, but also heterosexual couple? Plus, having anal sex does not mean you are gay,” he told Rappler.

“In Islamic boarding schools, there’s a tradition called mairil and gemblak, homosexual practices between senior and junior. But they do not identify themselves as ‘gay.'”

Yulius also questioned how officials would make an arrest on consensual homosexual sex “if it is done in private sphere?”

He also pointed out that Indonesia seemed to want to follow Singapore’s footsteps.

“But, in Singapore, the 377A penal code is not even enforced. It s only a symbolic law. Despite the fact that Singapore embraces neoliberalism, the State power still needs to be sustained, and thus, they dont want to revoke this law because it will disrupt social order because they need support from old and Christian conservative people,” he said.

“But again, it has never been enforced.” – Rappler.com

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