Indonesia: Fear and horror among Indonesia's LGBT community as gay sex ban looms

When Ael left home to go to school in Jakarta, his parents warned him to be careful in the big city. "Be a kind person," his mother told him.

He worked hard and found a good job as a teacher in the sprawling Indonesian capital, but seven years later the 23-year-old is fearful for his future as a young gay man in a country which increasingly views homosexuality as a sin and, potentially soon, a crime.

"Many people don't like us ... they don't like us being more visible, so they are preparing laws that can criminalize us," Ael, who asked for his surname to not be used, told CNN.

Within weeks, lawmakers could vote on a new law that looks set to criminalize sex outside of marriage and homosexual sex in Indonesia, as part of wide-reaching changes to the country's criminal code.

"If the penal code is approved, I don't know our future in Indonesia," Ael said.

It is just the latest move in a widespread crackdown on Indonesia's gay and lesbian community since 2015, which has shocked and horrified the country's LGBT population.

Indonesia is the world's largest Muslim-majority country, home to hundreds of millions of followers of the Islamic faith, but until recently it was relatively tolerant, if not exactly accepting, of its LGBT population.

But in the last decade a conservative strain of Islam, quietly tolerated by presidents past and present, has gained sway, with conservative Muslim leaders and groups intimidating lawmakers, holding mass rallies in Jakarta and targeting prominent Christian and LGBT minorities.

"(Recently) when LGBT Indonesians open our social media, quickly we find there are lots of people speaking hatefully about us," Ael said.

"As a gay person and a young person in Indonesia this issue has actually become dangerous for us."

The local LGBT community isn't alone in worrying about the developments. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said at a press conference in Jakarta on February 7 he was "greatly concerned" about the proposed revisions of the penal code. Read more via CNN