Transsexuals say new bylaw on public order will increase discrimination

Kompas – September 26, 2007
Transgender women protest in Jakarta (Kompas)
Transgender women protest in Jakarta (Kompas)

Jakarta – Transsexuals are opposing the Jakarta regional government bylaw on public order that will soon be coming into effect. They say that the bylaw is discriminative and will criminalise the poor and particular social groups, including transsexuals.

“Transsexuals are a group that up until now has suffered as a consequence of discrimination. This new bylaw will just increase discrimination against transsexuals, particularly poor transsexuals”, said Ienes Angela, the head of the campaign and networking division of Arus Pelangi (Rainbow Current) on Tuesday September 25.

Kompas received the statement a short time before Arus Pelangi held a press conference yesterday to convey its official position with regard to the bylaw. According to Angela, Arus Pelangi is a group that is active in advocating for and defending lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals and transgender people.

Angela conceded that they don’t know when Bylaw No. 9/2007 on Public Order will come into effect. However the bylaw, which was revised on September 5, has been agreed to by the Jakarta Regional House of Representatives.

In its efforts to have the bylaw revoked, Arus Pelangi plans to organise more peaceful demonstrations and hold an audience with the Minister of Home Affairs, the Minister for Justice and Human Rights and the National Human Rights Commission. “Letters requesting an audience have already been posted. We are waiting on a reply”, explained Angela.

As reported by Kompas on September 25, last Monday a number of transsexuals demonstrated against the bylaw at the Department of Home Affairs on J. Medan Merdeka Utara in Central Jakarta. The demonstration was joined by around 300 or so poor people including vagrants, beggars, buskers and street peddlers. (muk)

[Translated by James Balowski.]