Gender activist raises alarm over draft law on ‘sexually deviant propaganda’

KBR – January 17, 2020
Traditional Lengger Lanang dancer from Banyumas in which men perform in women’s clothing (Wikimedia)

Lea Citra, Adi Ahdiat, Jakarta – A gender activists from the group Indonesian Queer Feminist Activist, Lini Zurlia, says that the public should be critical of the Draft Law Against Sexually Deviant Propaganda (RUU Anti-Propaganda Penyimpangan Seksual).

Seen from its title, she suspects that the draft law has the potential to criminalise Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) groups.

“The public must be informed about the existing draft, the public must be critical of it, and then the general public must be informed, not just in Indonesia, but also outside Indonesia”, Zurlia told KBR on Thursday January 16.

“If there is potential for human rights violations in the law, we must with all our strength, all our energy prevent this draft from happening, let alone being ratified into law”, she continued.

According to Zurlia, over the last few years there have indeed been many efforts to legitimise discriminative policies against LGBT groups.

“Not just at the national level, at the local level there have been circulars and even (anti-LGBT) bylaws which hide behind [wording like] protecting the family. That is what has begun to reverberate”, explained Zurlia.

“Out of those which have already been enacted, actually the only one that really targeta (LGBT peopel) at the national [level] which is specific is the Anti-Pornography Law. In other parts of the country, we have counted around 47 or so bylaws. They exist in Palembang, South Sumatra, Cianjur, West Java, and especially in Aceh”, she continued.

Zurlia believes that the government should focus more on dealing the problem of sexual violence, rather than discriminating against LGBT people.

She is also urging the government to prioritise the deliberations on the Draft Law on the Elimination of Sexual Violence (RUU-PKS) which has been in limbo for years.

National Legislation Program

The Draft Law Against Sexually Deviant Propaganda has already been included in the National Legislation Program (Prolegnas) for the 2020-2024 period. This was confirmed by the House of Representatives (DPR) Legislation Agency Deputy Chairperson Achmad Baidowi, although he claims to have forgotten who proposed its inclusion.

“In terms of the views of the person who proposed it, this is a form of protection for the future of the younger generation. We haven’t read the exact details yet, there isn’t a draft yet. It’s just a title and an outline which they conveyed verbally, and that’s allowed in a proposal (for the Prolegnas)”, said Baidowi at the DPR building in Jakarta on Thursday.

Baidowi claims that the draft law emerged based on the wishes of the public. “So we’re not just listening to one social group, but we’re also listening to other social groups, so it’s balanced, both those who support and oppose it, we’re listening to both, so that we produce a comprehensive draft law”, he said.

[Abridged translation by James Balowski based on two articles by KBR on January 17. The original title of the main article was “Aktivis Gender: RUU Anti-Propaganda Penyimpangan Seksual Harus Dikritisi Publik”.]