Indonesia

AT A GLANCE

Same Sex
Relations
Legal?

NO

(in some provinces)

Legal Gender
Recognition
Possible?

YES

LGBTI Orgs
Able to
Register?

YES

Actions Related
to SOGI at
the UN

2016: Opposed IE SOGI
2019: Opposed IE SOGI

Overview

Same-sex relations have never been criminalized on a federal level in Indonesia. 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. 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. Homophobic rhetoric and calls for criminalization of same-sex relations by religious leaders have exacerbated negative societal opinions. Acceptance is slightly higher of transgender individuals, mainly because of the historical societal appearance and functions of “waria” people (a third gender community in Indonesia). LGBTIQ people have been a particular target of persecution since 2016 under the country’s pornography and public nuisance laws. In February 2020 a new “Family Resilience” bill was proposed (though has not been passed). It defines homosexuality as a deviance and requires LGBTQ people to report to authorities for rehabilitation, and their families to report LGBTIQ people to agencies handling “family resilience”. Activists have reported an escalation in vigilante attacks and violence against LGBTIQ people in recent years and months. Out of fear for their safety, most LGBTIQ Indonesians keep their identities concealed. LGBTIQ organizations are, in theory, allowed to register, but there are barriers to their operation due primarily to societal pressures, and as such, few of these organizations operate openly.