UNDP, USAID launch first comprehensive report on the state of LGBT rights in Indonesia

By June 20, 2014 Publications

JAKARTA (June 17, 2014) – The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in partnership with The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Tuesday launched the first ever-comprehensive report on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights in Indonesia.

Entitled, ‘Being LGBT in Asia: The Indonesia Country Report’, the document calls on the Government of Indonesia to recognize the existence of LGBT individuals as an integral part of Indonesian society, and to respect and protect the rights of LGBT people through existing national and international human rights mechanisms.

USAID Acting Mission Director Derrick Brown describes the report as “ground-breaking” work and praises those Indonesian’s – from all walks of life – who lent their voices and expertise to the report.

“The report is ground-breaking in that it reflects many Indonesian voices ranging from local leaders to grassroots organizations, working to encourage dialogue and advance change in their own communities,” said Brown. “We appreciate Indonesia’s national motto of ‘Unity in Diversity’ and hope that progress continues to encompass all Indonesians, including LGBT people.”

UNDP Country Director, Beate Trankmann, said the reports reveals that LGBT individuals are often prevented from living meaningful lives and are denied opportunities that others take for granted.

“This takes a toll on the individual and the country as it prevents thousands of people from both contributing fully to the development of their country and from enjoying the benefits of development,” said Trankmann.

She added the report aims to provide inputs and recommendations to guide the adjustment of legal frameworks and practices to ensure that all people regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity are treated equally.

Below is a summary of findings from the report:

Laws: National laws generally do not recognize or support the rights of LGBT people, even though homosexuality is not criminalized. There are no specific anti-discrimination laws that pertain to sexual orientation or gender identity (SOGI). As Indonesian law only recognizes male and female genders, transgender people who do not choose to undergo gender reassignment surgery can have problems with identity documents and related issues. Homosexuality is criminalized in local ordinances where it is portrayed as immoral behavior, although four out of five relevant ordinances do not state an explicit punishment.
Discrimination: Discrimination against LGBT individuals in the workplace does not receive significant attention, and there is an absence of anti-discrimination laws as well as clear policies or statements which protect LGBT workers’ rights. Most discrimination is directed at transgender women, who face challenges with stable employment, prejudice, housing and identity cards, both in obtaining them and in that they do not indicate their chosen gender.

Cultural and Social Attitudes: There is a contrast between those who are progressive and accepting of LGBT people and a much larger population who are generally ignorant of SOGI issues. Transgender persons have higher visibility. Most people do not know openly LGBT people. Some tolerance rather than acceptance may be demonstrated towards people with diverse sexual orientation or gender identity, although this is unlikely to be true in family units.

Family: Acceptance by families is limited by strong traditionalist cultural pressures to enter a heterosexual marriage and form a family, as well as conservative interpretations of religious texts.

Health and Well-Being: Health related information and resources for LGBT people are predominately related to HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections. Sexual and reproductive services are aimed at heterosexual individuals. There is a need for counselling and attention to psycho-sexual and sexual well-being issues for all LGBT people, information and support for transgender people in relation to hormone therapy, and to expand and build on training for health workers to increase their sensitivity on LGBT issues and people.

Education and Young People: A general lack of education on sex and sexuality in schools, and on issues specifically related to LGBT sexuality, combined with a lack of information and guidance from parents, is harmful to the self-esteem of young LGBT people. Bullying of LGBT students is also of concern.

Capacity of Grassroots Organizations: There are a relatively large number of organizations in Indonesia: two national networks and 119 organizations in 28 out of the 34 provinces in the country, diverse in their composition, size and age. They are active in health issues, publishing and organizing social and educational activities. The organizations surveyed view their access to funding sources as generally weak, with challenges in human resources and organizational management. Organizations face challenges in knowing how to legally register, organize activities in the face of violent opposition, and lack official support and protection.

Media: The quality of media coverage on LGBT issues in Indonesia varies, ranging from supportive to hostile. Information communication technology is being used by LGBT individuals and organizations to disseminate information, and develop and publish cultural materials.

To read the full report, please visit, http://bit.ly/LGBTReport

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