Anti LGBT protestors gathered in Bandung, West Java, on Friday. (Antara Photo/Novrian Arbi)

LGBT Safety Should be Placed Under the Constitution: Activists


FEBRUARY 24, 2016

Jakarta. Human rights activists called on public officials to end discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or LGBT, community and include it in the country’s constitution on citizen rights.

Wahyudi Djafar, a researcher at the Institute for Policy Research and Advocacy (Elsam), said the discussions around the LGBT community has transformed into discrimination rather than a constructive discussion on protecting the country’s diversity.

“The majority of comments on LGBT are based on the matters of morality and religions. This issue should be addressed under constitution matters, where the country has responsibility to protect the citizens without any exception,” Wahyudi said in Jakarta, on Wednesday (24/04).

Local government and education officials have touted discriminatory anti-LGBT measures recently, including suggesting bans on LGBT student groups on university campuses and ordering police to halt an HIV outreach event for gay and bisexual men.

Defense Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu was the latest public official to comment on the LGBT community. He considered the emergence of LGBT movement in the country as a new form of a "proxy" war to weaken the sovereignty of the state without deploying a military force.

“This is a kind of a modern warfare," said Ryacudu on Tuesday, as reported by Antara news agency, adding that the state needs to be more cautious in reacting to the demands of LGBT communities for equality before the law.

“There should be a separate between religious matters and constitution,” explained Wahyudi, adding that the country should protect the LGBT community for whatever it takes.

Haris Azhar, coordinator of the Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (Kontras), said sexual orientation is a deeply personal matter that cannot be publicly debated whether it’s true or false.

He hoped that any discussions should not end at repressive or discriminatory regulations to the LGBT community, which is considered as one of minority groups in the country.

“This debate should not justify certain people or parties to arbitrarily treat the LGBT community. We cannot discriminate people according to their religion, skin, or sexual orientation,” Haris said.

Anti-LGBT groups recently have voiced concern on the existence of LGBT community in the country, saying they should be cured from "the social disease."

On Tuesday, Yogyakarta Police shut down a rally supporting the LGBT community at the Tugu Monument in Yogyakarta after the failure of the group to secure the proper permits. The pro-LGBT permit had been denied by police to prevent any clash with anti-LGBT rally which was also scheduled to be staged at the same day.

“This kind of discrimination to LGBT community could happen to any other minority groups. Unluckily, today’s victims are the LGBTs,” said Haris.