QuAC Protests Homophobia in Indonesia
WORDS BY JOCELYN CHAN
On Saturday, the University of Sydney’s Queer Action Collective (QuAC) protested against homophobia in Indonesia at the Indonesian Consulate in Maroubra.
QuAC organised the protest in response to an “increased, targeted hunt on Queer Indonesians”.
Given the close relationship between Australia and Indonesia, QuAC felt that the Australian government and public could take greater action against homophobia in Indonesia.
Connor Parissis, Co-Queer Officer of QuAC, stated, “We felt it imperative to mobilise and speak out against the discrimination against queer people in Indonesia.”
Last month, two men were publicly caned for the first time in Indonesia for having consensual sex, each receiving 83 blows. In the same month, police arrested 141 men at a gay sauna under “anti-pornography laws”.
Sol Alliya Yoga, a student at Western Sydney University, said that these were “not isolated incidents and are becoming increasingly commonplace [and] encroach Indonesians’ human rights.” For them, this persecution also “normalises violence towards minorities”.
Attendees also called on the Australian government to accept LGBT+ refugees from Indonesia, and demanded the Indonesian consulate to stand against homophobic crimes.
Suara Kita from Our Voice, an Indonesian human rights NGO, was a guest speaker at the event. Attendees also heard anonymous statements from two LGBT+ people living in Indonesia.
QuAC organised this event with endorsement from other queer groups including the 78’ers & Friends, the University of Technology Sydney Queer Collective, and the Macquarie Queer SRC Representative. The University of Sydney Wom*n’s Collective also attended.
Under national law in Indonesia, consensual sex between persons of the same sex is permitted. However, local penalties for homosexuality exist in Aceh and South Sumatra.
There is no legal protection for the LGBT+ community against discrimination and hate crimes. LGBT+ people are not culturally accepted, but the community is growing more active.