Stop Homo/Transphobic Bullying, All Forms of Violence and Discrimination against LGBTI Persons

Press Release

The International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia
(IDAHO-T) 2013

A carnival flash mob organized by Forum LGBTIQ Indonesia supported by Arus Pelangi, YIM, GWL & GWL Muda, Ardhanary Institute, Forum Komunikasi Waria Indonesia (FKWI), Sanggar Waria Remaja (SWARA), and Q-Munity. See full size images »

Jakarta, 17 May 2013. The IDAHO-T (International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia) that falls on the 17th of May of every year is a day that is devoted for global celebration in order to raise awareness on violations against LGBTI rights and to encourage law and recognition towards LGBTI persons in various parts of the world.

May 17th was an important moment because on that date in 1990, the World Health Organization (WHO) removed homosexuality from the list of Mental Illnesses (deviations) that had previously been listed in the International Classification of Disease. Since then, the WHO in particular followed by other United Nations (UN) Bodies placed LGBTI community in equal position with other communities, who have the the same rights, the universal human rights.

UN support towards law enforcement and recognition on the human rights of LGBTI persons continuous to grow. The UN says at least there are still 76 countries in the world that criminalize consensual same-sex relationships; even some of them still apply the death penalty for homosexuals. In general, the existence of LGBTI people throughout the world is still very threatened by all acts of harassment, discrimination, and violence that took place on an ongoing basis. Based on data released by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), homophobic bullying is a type bullying with the second highest rate in the world.

Homophobic bullying can be in the form of negative attitudes, on the basis of beliefs, and behaviors that are given to individuals who are usually non-heterosexual identified through the expression of a different gender, including verbal attacks, physical attacks, and homophobic related matters. The psychological and social consequences impact of the homophobic attacks can be very dangerous for the victim who is directly become the object of bullying and it ranges from fear, self-isolation, depression, and even suicide.

Homophobic bullying can be defined as a form of bullying behavior on anyone considered different or outside the "norm", which is motivated by prejudice against sexual orientation and gender identity of a person's regardless of their actual or merely alleged. Therefore, the target of homophobic attacks are not always focused on people with sexual orientation and gender identity that 'appear' different, but also heterosexuals with a visible expression of the opposite gender with the generally accepted construction ‘heteronormativity’ could also be a victim.

In Indonesia, the State does not explicitly criminalize homosexuality but there is also no law that protects the rights of LGBTI persons. In the explanation remark of the Pornography Act (Article 4 Paragraph 1), homosexuality is referred to as deviant sexual behavior, it clearly indicates that the state still has not recognized the diversity of sexual orientation and gender identity for more than five billion people living in the world. Not to mention a few Provinces and Municipalities/Districts that have bylaws and/or planning to legitimize bylaws that discriminate against LGBTI persons, which will further marginalize the existence of the LGBTI persons in Indonesia and position them as the dregs towards society.

Violence committed by law enforcement officers, assault committed by hardline religious organizations, and discriminations carried out in several places such as schools, workplaces, public spaces and others are some form of ignorance and omission committed by the State against LGBTI persons in Indonesia. The unfulfillment of various rights pertaining to LGBTI persons, such as denied rights to work, freedom of expression and opinion, and other rights have remained unfulfilled; they are another example that confirms that the State is turning a blind eye to the existence of the LGBTI persons in Indonesia.

Therefore, we, the Forum LGBTIQ Indonesia, are calling on for the Government of Indonesia, in order to:

  • Acknowledge the existence of LGBTI minority groups in Indonesia, with fulfillment by providing space
    for expression and criticism, as well as to fulfill other rights as Citizen of Indonesia,
  • Repeal all laws that directly and indirectly criminalize LGBTI minority groups based on their sexual orientation and gender identities and harmonize national laws, policies and practices with the Yogyakarta Principles,
  • Establish a national and review existing regional human rights instruments (e.g. AICHR, ACWC) to include the promotion of the equal rights for all people regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity with the active engagement of the LGBTI community,
  • Depathologize sexual orientation and gender identity and promote the psycho-social well-being of people in diverse sexual orientation and gender identity in accordance with the World Health Organization (WHO) standard, and ensuring equal access to health and social services,
  • Stop acts of discrimination and violence of any kind based on sexual orientation and gender identity, whether committed by State officials as well as by the general public, and
  • Resolve cases of violence that had long been abandoned with no clear solution, in order to ensure that there are no other similar cases in the future.

“LGBTI rights are Human Rights” (UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon)
We exist, we are discriminated, and many of us were violated by homophobic bullying and many other forms of violence and discriminations.
Indonesia should not remain silent in dealing with this situation.

On behalf of the Forum LGBTIQ Indonesia
In Solidarity and Diversity,

Yuli Rustinawati
National Coordinator
yuli@aruspelangi.or.id