Indonesia

At a glance

  • Same-sex relations: illegal in some provinces
  • Legal gender recognition: possible
  • Registration of LGBTIQ organizations: possible
  • Actions related to SOGI at UN: opposed IE SOGI in 2016 and 2019

 

Overview

Indonesia has never had national legislation criminalizing same-sex relations, however, several provinces operate under Sharia law which criminalizes consensual same sex activity and prescribes a punishment of 100 lashes, up to 100 months in prison, or a fine of 1m rupiah. The national Pornography Act, which is vaguely worded and thus open to wide interpretation, has also been used to target LGBTIQ people. In 2018, a national law criminalizing same-sex relations was proposed; however, partly due to strong international condemnation, the government indefinitely postponed voting on this law.

Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim country and therefore, homophobic rhetoric and calls for criminalization of same-sex relations by religious leaders have exacerbated negative societal opinions. Many Indonesians believe that being LGBTIQ or accepting LGBTIQ individuals stands against religious norms and values and provides evidence of bad moral behaviors. Strongly negative media coverage further perpetuates such perceptions. Over the last five years, LGBTIQ activists have reported an escalation in vigilante attacks of and violence against LGBTIQ people. Out of fear for their safety, most LGBTIQ Indonesians remain in the closet. LGBTIQ organizations are technically allowed to register, but there are barriers to their operation due primarily to societal pressures, and as such, few of these organizations operate openly.