Friday, May 26, 2017

Policing homosexuality in Indonesia

This article, in the Jakarta Post, notes that there is a lot more going on in regional parts of Indonesia regarding policing of homosexuality than we hear about here:
Behind the protests and actions and debate on blasphemy law, the wars on homosexuality and/or LGBT still continues. Indonesian police raided a “gay sex party” in Surabaya, East Java, arrested 14 men, and forced them to undergo HIV tests, which violated their rights to privacy. They face charges of infringing the 2008 Pornography Law and the 2008 Electronic Information and Transaction Law (ITE), prohibiting the distribution of pornographic and/or indecent material. The police found and confiscated condoms, mobile phones, and a flash drive containing porn videos, reports said....

While homosexuality remains illegal here, the loose, malleable, and subjective definition of pornography of the 2008 Pornography Law so far has been a powerful weapon to outlaw homosexuality practices and interfere in individual private spaces. Last year a male couple in Manado, North Sulawesi, was arrested after a photo of them kissing was uploaded on Facebook and went viral. Similar with the recent gay arrests in Surabaya, this couple was at risk of being charged under the Pornography Law and the cyberlaw.
The writer notes that the problem is how too much decentralised democracy has played out in the nation with patches of fundamentalist Islam:
Daily power dynamics and contestations among political actors mark constant ideological struggles to define the contours of the regime. Indonesia’s transition to democracy has also led the previously suppressed fundamentalist Islamic political groups to flourish openly and exert their power, with many cities and regencies adopting “moral-based regulations” or sharia-inspired bylaws.

The scholar Kathryn Robinson in Masculinity, Sexuality, and Islam ( 2015 ) asserts that political Islam actors exploit decentralization to enact sharia-based regulations. With their greater political   power, politicians of any hue see them as potential supporters and constituents for their own interests. Hence, this shift has also changed the way of regulating and policing people, particularly those who do not conform to the formal norms of the state and of the majority. If in the previous regime, state-centered power and surveillance was inevitable, the current regime of controls are deployed and reverberates throughout dispersed policies, creating new modes of policing.

1 comment:

not trampis said...

why are you worrying Steve, This is the face of 'moderate' Islam.