Rights groups decry public shaming of transgender people in Indonesia

Posted January 31, 2018

Police in Indonesia have detained 12 transgender women, cutting their long hair and saying they were "coaching" them to behave like "real men".

A group of protesters holding anti-LGBT banners in Aceh, where homosexuality is illegal, in December 2017.

The 12 transgender women, who were rounded in several beauty salons where they worked, were targeted by the police following claims they had teased a group of boys.

Local police are accusing the salon workers of breaching the religious laws of the Aceh province.

Police then cut some of their long hair with scissors, as well as forcing them to wear "male" clothing and speak in "masculine" voices. "These transvestites will be getting coaching until they really become men", the police chief said, as quoted by Antara news agency. "Their numbers are growing here - I don't want that", Surianata said.

Aceh, the only province in Muslim-majority Indonesia that is ruled by Islamic law, has witnessed a major crackdown on the LGBTI community in recent years with a string of arrests.

Source Youtube  LoeTube
Source Youtube LoeTube

"Cutting the hair of those arrested to "make them masculine" and forcing them to dress like men are forms of public shaming and amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, in contravention of Indonesia's global obligations. Such incidents must be promptly and effectively investigated", said Usman Hamid.

Tunggal Pawestri, an Indonesian human rights activist, told CNN it was "crystal clear" police had violated the human rights of the transgender women in Sunday's raids.

This month a Christian was publicly flogged for selling alcohol in the conservative region, making him the third non-Muslim in Indonesia to suffer a public whipping.

Last year, the provincial and central governments drew worldwide condemnation after authorities in Aceh tried two young men on charges of engaging in gay sex and then publicly caned them - the first such case in the country. Prejudice against trans people, while widespread across the country, is particularly acute in the province.

The human rights group condemned the "re-education" methods and urged the Aceh authorities to stop police brutality and hostile attitudes against the LGBT community.

"It's very odd that officers [in Sunday's incident] would arrest innocent people and cut off their hair", added Indonesian LGBT rights activist Hartoyo, who goes by one name, in an interview with The Guardian.

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