More than a decade of homophobic local bylaws has seen a marginalised community made more vulnerable. The latest round of rhetoric and renewed anti-LGBT sentiments have thrown the controversial issue of LGBT rights and their place in Indonesia into the spotlight. But beyond the fervour that now seems to be sweeping the nation, the attack is nothing new, particularly when we look at morality-based local legislation.
Over the last 12 years LGBT rights in Indonesia have been challenged by the proliferation of homophobic local bylaws (peraturan daerah or perda). While originally intended to give local officials and legislatures more power over their provinces, districts, and cities, many of these perda reflect a problematic regulation of sexuality, especially that of LGBT citizens.
If we were to conclude what is behind this recent backlash, it traces back to a politicised moral agenda. By positioning the LGBT community as common enemy, officials pushing this agenda can enhance their moral credentials in the eyes of their constituents and constrict the sphere of what should be considered moral. To speak out against LGBT rights becomes an act of morality. Read more via New Mandala