News World Indonesian police publicly shame transgender women as draconian laws loom

Indonesian police publicly shame transgender women as draconian laws loom

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The transgender women will undergo 're-education' after having their hair cut and being forced to wear men's clothes. Photo: Facebook
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Police in Indonesia have publicly shamed a group of transgender women as politicians finalise new legislation that would make gay sex illegal.

Police in the conservative province of North Aceh forcibly shaved the hair of 12 transgender hairdressers and made them wear men’s clothing, state media reported.

The women will also have to undergo “re-education”.

The province’s police chief, Untung Sangaji, delivered an impassioned speech about his latest successful operation on five hairdressing salons, Antara reported.

“The clerics don’t want this disease spreading here,” he shouted to a crowd of onlookers in the town of Lhoksukon, who shouted back: “It’s true.”

Mr Sangaji is a hero in Indonesia, where he’s famous for running towards a terrorist attack in Jakarta in 2016, firing at the extremists with his handgun.

When arresting the trans women inside their salon, Mr Sangaji made a speech saying: “Our ulamas (clerics) disagree with this disease. It’s spreading. It’s inhumane if Untung Sangaji is to tolerate these sissy garbages”

Watch the arrest and shaming below:

Andreas Harsono from Human Rights Watch said one of the few jobs available to trans people has been taken from them.

“He’s not only arresting them, he’s not only intimidating them, he’s also closing their businesses,” Mr Harsono said.

“The police sealed those five hair salons.”

The transgender community in Indonesia regularly faces verbal assaults from government and religious figures.

Indonesian politicians are about to go much further after the country’s ten main political parties agreed on a new criminal code that will make it much easier to prosecute gay sex as well as sex between unmarried straight couples.

One of the politicians who helped draw up the criminal code is Arsul Sani, the secretary general of the PPP Party.

“It applies to people of the same gender who have sex, which is basically a forbidden act,” he said.

“It’s considered the same as adultery, where men and women having sex outside marriage can be considered a crime.”

Few Indonesian politicians have voiced support for LGBT rights for fear of alienating a largely conservative voter base ahead of legislative and presidential elections next year.

Politicians says police won’t be barging down doors to arrest couples under the proposed laws, but the new code will apply to behaviour in private spaces, including bedrooms.

Authorities will act on complaints from aggrieved parties.

“The case can only be processed if there is a report from the husband or wife or children or parents,” Mr Sani said.

“That is the basic formula that has been agreed by the criminal code taskforce, parliament, and government.”

The proposed code also makes it illegal to advocate for birth control, talk about Communism or insult a religious figure.

Mr Harsono said the new laws will create a burden for Indonesian law enforcement.

“Millions of people might be arrested if those articles are enforced,” he said.

Mr Harsono said Indonesian society had been “more or less tolerant” for thousands of years.

“But after democracy took place, after the fall of [former president] Suharto, there are public openings for Wahabi, Salafi, Hizb ut-Tahrir political thinking,” he said.

“Some people call it the Sharia supremacist groups. They are the ones which now dominate the political discourse.

“Quite a lot of people think that it is the right way to be a Muslim.”

While the draft criminal code has been agreed upon, it could take a year or longer for the bill to become law.

– With ABC, AAP