Crackdown Against LGBTIQ People Intensifies In Indonesia


20 February 2020

Media Contact: Daina Ruduša,, +1 (917) 622-1865

Crackdown Against LGBTIQ People Intensifies In Indonesia

A draft “family resilience” bill has been proposed by members of the House of Representatives of Indonesia. The draft law defines homosexuality as a deviance which poses a threat to families, and requires LGBTQ people to report to authorities for rehabilitation, and their families to report LGBTIQ people to agencies handling “family resilience”.

The draft law, seen by Jakarta Post on Wednesday, February 19, 2020, outlines the formation of a state body responsible for “family resilience” which would handle “family crises due to sexual deviation” through spiritual guidance and social, psychological and medical rehabilitation.

The proposed law is the latest development in an increasingly hostile situation for LGBTQ people; government targeting and vigilante violence against LGBTQ people has steadily intensified over the last 5 years. Indonesia does not criminalize same-sex relations on a national level, however Sharia law, which outlaws same-sex relations, is in effect in the provinces of Aceh and West Sumatra. The national Pornography Act, which is vaguely worded and thus open to wide interpretation, is widely used to target LGBTQ people, and in 2018 a national law criminalizing same-sex relations was proposed, but has not yet been passed.

Jessica Stern, Executive Director of OutRight Action International, comments:

The news from Indonesia is extremely concerning. The draft bill proposes to codify in law that LGBTIQ people pose a threat to their families and need to be 'rehabilitated', changed, and removed - in essence requiring LGBTQ people by law to undergo so-called conversion therapy practices which are deemed by reputable psychiatric institutions, such as the World Psychiatric Association, as harmful and ineffective. This not only intensifies the mounting persecution and hate LGBTIQ people already face, but also requires their families to report them, making LGBTIQ people even more vulnerable and isolated.

The bill is reminiscent of the 2014 'Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act in Nigeria, which criminalizes those who know, or “abet” same-sex relationships, thus criminalizing the friends and families of LGBTIQ people. Furthermore, the bill falls into an alarming trend of a number of countries proposing stricter regulations on same-sex relations. In 2019 Brunei finalized implementation of Sharia law which prescribes stoning to death for same-sex relations, and Gabon introduced legislation criminalizing same-sex relations; similar legislation is pending in Egypt. Persecution of LGBTIQ people has intensified in Malaysia, and rumors of further criminalization on top of the already existing ban on same-sex relations in Uganda continue.

Jessica Stern, Executive Director of OutRight Action International, comments:

The introduction of criminalization laws where none have existed, and further criminalization in countries which already criminalize same-sex relations, is a frightening reminder of a growing global backlash against gender equality and the right of LGBTQ people to be who we are and love who we choose, without fear of violence, persecution or imprisonment. This should serve as a reminder that progress cannot be taken for granted, and LGBTQ movements have to fight not only for progress, but also against regression.



Every day around the world, LGBTIQ people’s human rights and dignity are abused in ways that shock the conscience. The stories of their struggles and their resilience are astounding, yet remain unknown—or willfully ignored—by those with the power to make change. OutRight Action International, founded in 1990 as the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, works alongside LGBTIQ people in the Global South, with offices in six countries, to help identify community-focused solutions to promote policy for a lasting change. We vigilantly monitor and document human rights abuses to spur action when they occur. We train partners to expose abuses and advocate for themselves. Headquartered in New York City, OutRight is the only global LGBTIQ-specific organization with a permanent presence at the United Nations in New York that advocates for human rights progress for LGBTIQ people.