Repression worsens in Indonesia and Egypt

Anti-LGBT protesters in Indonesia (Suryo Wibowo photo courtesy of AFP)
Anti-LGBT protesters in Indonesia (Suryo Wibowo photo courtesy of AFP)

Indonesian and Egyptian leaders have made news through repressive, wrong-headed responses to the existence of LGBTI people.

The following news briefs are modestly edited and slightly expanded versions of items from UNAIDS’s Equal Eyes recap of the world’s LGBTI news, UNAIDS reports:

Indonesia’s House of Representatives said it will pass a law to ban all positive representations of LGBT people on television, including films, TV shows, and advertising.

Under the bill, all shows would need to be screened in advance to make sure that no films, TV shows or advertising would violate the ban.

Also in Indonesia, police raided a sauna and arrested 58 men, including six foreigners, under charges of providing pornographic services.  Although homosexual activity is not explicitly criminalized except in two provinces, police routinely use charges of debauchery and prostitution to detain  people who are assumed to be gay.

From Egypt came reports that the Coptic Church is organizing a conference to increase awareness on how to “recover” from homosexuality and to teach church patrons how to conduct gay “conversions” — a widely discredited and unsuccessful practice that leads to  emotional trauma.

Also in Egypt, what started as a few people waving rainbow flags at a rock concert escalated significantly to anywhere from 30 to 57 arrests of supposed lesbian, gay, and bisexuals on charges of debauchery and inciting sexual deviancy. Many groups have spoken out against these actions, including the Arab Foundation for Freedoms and Equality and the concert’s rock band Mashrou’ Leila. Concurrently, the Supreme Council for Media Regulation issued a blanket ban on all positive “appearance of homosexuals or their slogans in the media” stating:

“Homosexuality is a sickness and disgrace that would be better hidden from view and not promoted for dissemination until it is treated and its disgrace removed.”

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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