Statement of support for the ILGA congress in Surabaya

Perempuan Mahardhika – March 24, 2010
Perempuan Mahardhika action (PM)
Perempuan Mahardhika action (PM)
  • Allow the ILGA conference in Surabaya to go ahead
  • Fight all forms of discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people
  • Recognise the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to obtain education, healthcare, gainful employment, to organise and to live without fear
  • Provide productive employment for women and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people
  • Fraternal greetings of equality,

The opposition, banning and condemnations against the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Association (ILGA) Congress in the East Java provincial capital of Surabaya is a violation of basic human rights and an undemocratic act!

In the lead up to the forth Asia ILGA congress that was to be held in Surabaya on March 26-28, there were a number of objections raised by organisations such as the Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI), the mass Islamic organisation Muhammadyah and various other groups and individuals on that the grounds that it would violate human rights and was not in accordance with Indonesian culture.

Political positions such as this hinder the process of advancing democratisation in Indonesia, and as we know, over the period of reformasi the process of democratisation in Indonesia has continued to decline in quality. There is already much evidence of how democratic space has not been provided in full to the poor, women and for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) people.

We condemn the actions by the Surabaya municipal district police in refusing to provide a permit to hold the ILGA meeting. It should be that the police have the duty of safeguarding, protecting and guaranteeing the ILGA meeting until it closes. The government and its law enforcement agencies must act firmly against anyone, or any group, which attempts to obstruct the meeting, not the reverse.

The state must fully guarantee the right of all its citizens to choose their sexual orientation freely and without coercion. The state must provide the same rights and opportunities to LGBTs: the opportunity to a life free of fear, to obtain an education and gainful employment free from discrimination, to organise and to campaign for the LGBT community’s rights.

The state cannot close its eyes to the objective situation that a heterosexual orientation is not the only one that exists within our society and that there are other sexual orientations as well – homosexuality or same gender relationships – which must also be recognised and protected by the state.

But the reality is that to this day the administration of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Vice President Boediono, as well the administrations before them, have refused to recognise the rights of LGBTs, so that the LGBT community still suffers from discrimination in all aspects of social, political, economic and cultural life.

Over the last 10 years of reformasi not one piece of legislation has been enacted that protects and guarantees the rights of the LGBT community. On the contrary, the government consistently fails to take action against organisation such as the MUI that continue to perpetrate attacks against women and the LGBT community through religious edicts (fatwa) that are anti-democratic and against gender equality.

It is foolish for women and the LGBT community to hope that the Yudhoyono administration, the parliament and the political elite will recognise the rights of LGBTs or proved full prosperity to the Indonesian people as a whole.

It is time for us to build our own political force, to build an independent organisation that consistently fights for full justice for the LGBT community and the welfare of the ordinary Indonesian people as a whole. Only through a political struggle and mass mobilisation will we be capable of winning our demands.

The Perempuan Mahardhika (Free Women) National Network (JNPM) fully supports the LGBT community’s struggle to obtain its rights and is ready to fight alongside them. We also call on all women, pro-democratic, labour, farmer, urban poor and student organisation to build unity and fight the enemies of women and the ordinary people (the government agents of foreign colonialism, the remnants of the New Order regime, the military, the reactionary civilian militia groups and the fake reformists) to realise the solutions needed to overcome the oppression of women and the ordinary Indonesian people:

1. A program of national industrialisation for and by the people

2. The centralisation of state funding for national industrialisation and the emergency needs of women and the poor (repudiate the foreign debt until the ordinary people are prosperous; nationalise vital industries and banks under the control of the people; seize the assets of former President Suharto and the corruptors; a tax on speculative transactions)

3. Build and organisation and a women’s movement for people’s power and gender equality

4. Develop a new culture that is progressive, productive, modern and feminist

  • Women must leave the home
  • Fight capitalism, struggle for prosperity and equality
  • Replace the SBY-Boediono capitalist government
  • Abandon the rotten political elite
  • Unite, for a united government of the poor

Perempuan Mahardhika National Committee
Jakarta, March 24, 2010

Sharina, chairperson
Dian Novita, secretary

For more information contact Sharina on 085241322078

Perempuan Mahardhika National Committee
Secretariat: Jalan Tebet Timur Dalam VIII P No 16 South Jakarta
Tel/Fax: 0218298425, email:

[Translated by James Balowski.]