An Indonesian city, Pariaman, on Friday, approved a new law fining LGBTQ behavior that could “disturb public order."
While homosexuality is legal in Indonesia, this is not the first time the country has been influenced by Sharia law into criminalizing LGBTQ people and acts between them. Since Sharia law was implemented in 2014 in the Aceh province, public canings of LGBTQ people have occurred regularly.
Additionally, there have been raids at spaces that should be safe for LBGTQ people like “sex parties” and conferences that result in arrest. There was a call for the ban of LGBTQ “hookup” apps like Grindr and even for the removal of “gay emojis” on an app called LINE.
So while none of this is new, Pariaman (which is not in Aceh, but West Sumatra) became the latest major city in the predominantly Muslim nation to issue a new regulation against “acts that are considered LGBT.” Deputy Mayor Mardison Mahyudin told Reuters such activity “disturbs public order.” Now any behavior that indicates a person is gay or transgender behavior will be fined 1 million rupiah (about US$70 based on current exchange rates).
Human Rights Watch already vowed to fight the law, which it says violated the nation’s constitution.
“It’s a local ordinance that has no grounds on Indonesia’s constitution nor other national laws,” Human Rights Watch researcher Andreas Harsano told Reuters. “It’s just another sign that Indonesia is increasingly having two legal systems: the constitutional one and the so-called Islamic Sharia system.”
Mahyudin essentially confirmed that take when he said LGBTQ behavior violates cultural traditions.
“According to our customs, the Minang customs, we are against such acts and behavior,” the deputy mayor said of homosexuality and transgender identity.
The Minangkabau ethnic groups of west Indonesia primarily follow Islamic ethnic traditions.