141 Men Arrested in Gay Sauna in Indonesia

On 21 May 2017 at 8PM, 141 men were arrested by Indonesian authorities claiming they were engaging in a “gay sex party” at Atlantis Gym & Sauna in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta.

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Those arrested were detained by the North Jakarta District Police. Indonesia does not have laws criminalising homosexuality, except in the Aceh province, however the country does have severe anti-pornography laws which have been used to target LGBTIQ websites and activities.

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Jessica Stern, Executive Director of OutRight Action International, commented on the arrests and the wider environment facing LGBTIQ people in Indonesia saying:

OutRight’s research, Creeping Criminalization, shows that regional regulations are departing from national laws and are heavily influenced by fundamentalist interpretations of Islam. These laws are targeting women’s dress codes, any women having relationships outside of marriage, and LGBTIQ people, criminalizing them on grounds of breaching public morality.

What is happening in Indonesia is dangerous and scary. Officials are using their own personal biases on morality to oppress different groups and especially LGBTIQ people. In the past, the LGBTIQ community has experienced more tolerance in Indonesian society, but particularly over the past 18 months crackdowns have increased and the situation has become much worse for LGBTIQ people. LGBTIQ Indonesians are equal citizens and must not be singled out and oppressed simply for who they love or who they are.

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