LGBT rights in Indonesia

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LGBT rights in Indonesia
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal, except for Muslims in Aceh province
Gender identity/expression -
Recognition of
No recognition of same-sex couples
Discrimination protections None

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Indonesia may face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Same-sex sexual activity is legal in most of Indonesia, but Aceh province has instituted Islamic Sharia law for Muslim residents of the province. Indonesian same-sex couples and households headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for the same legal protections available to opposite-sex married couples.

Laws against homosexuality

Private, adult and consensual homosexual acts are legal in most of Indonesia.

A proposal to criminalize homosexuality nationwide failed in 2003. Legislation was proposed by the Justice Ministry to amend the criminal code so as to criminalize heterosexual and homosexual sodomy with up to twelve years in prison,[1] but the bill failed. The proposed legislation would have criminalized cohabitation, adultery and the practice of witchcraft.

In 2002, the Indonesian Government gave Aceh province the right to introduce Islamic sharia. Enforcement applies only to Muslims. For example, the city of Palembang introduced jail and fines, for homosexual sex.[2]

Gender identity/expression

Some of the Islamic ordinances local governments have adopted include prohibitions on cross-dressing.[3]

Recognition of same-sex relationships

The law does not recognize gay marriage, civil unions or domestic partnership benefits.

Adoption and family planning

As of 2009, there are no laws protecting the adoption of children by same-sex couples.

Discrimination protections

As of 2007, no law exists to protect Indonesia citizens from discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

LGBT rights movement in Indonesia

In 1982 the first gay rights interest group was established in Indonesia. The "Lambda Indonesia" and other similar organization arose in the late 1980s and 1990s [4]. Today, some of the major LGBT associations in the nation include "Gaya Nusantara", "Arus Pelangi".

Yogyakarta, Indonesia, hosted a 2006 summit on LGBT rights that produced the Yogyakarta Principles on the Application of International Human Rights Law in Relation to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.[5]. However, a summit in March 2010 in Surabaya was met with condemnation from the Indonesian Council of Ulema and disrupted by conservative protesters.[6]

Living conditions

Unlike many other Muslim countries, Indonesia is relatively tolerant of homosexuality. As in many countries in South East Asia, it is a part of everyday life. Even in the media several gay or transsexual prominent people exist.[7] Nevertheless this subject is low key and not openly talked about. Fanatical Muslim groups have been known to attack gay men, e.g. at an anti-AIDS meeting in Solo, where the participants were attacked by a masked band of several hundred people.


Legal guidelines regarding HIV/AIDS do not exist although AIDS is a major problem in most countries in the region. Those infected with HIV traveling to Indonesia can possibly be refused entry or threatened with quarantine.

See also


  1. [1]
  2. [2]
  4. [3]
  5. Yogyakarta Principles
  6. Earth Times. Conservative Indonesian Muslims break up gay meeting. 26 March 2010
  7. Spartacus International Gay Guide, page 484. Bruno Gmunder Verlag, 2007.



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