Elvan Dany Sutrisno, Jakarta – People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR) speaker Zulkifli Hasan says he agrees with Research, Technology and Higher Education Minister Muhammad Nasir who said recently that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) groups should be banned from campuses because they are not in accordance with Indonesian cultural values.
“Yes this is indeed a new phenomenon. It isn’t in line with our culture, [they] must be banned because it doesn’t fit with Indonesian culture”, Zulkifli told Detik on Sunday January 24.
Zulkifli often speaks about issues that he believes are indecent such as seminars calling for the government to acknowledge same sex marriage.
“Several times I’ve been at HAM [human rights] seminars saying that it’s a human rights violation not acknowledging same sex marriage. This is a new phenomenon which I don’t think is in accordance with our culture”, he asserted.
Earlier, Education Minister Nasir asserted that LGBT groups should be banned from higher education campuses because they are not in accordance with existing norms.
“These LGBT [groups] are not in accordance with the high values and morality of the Indonesian nation. I forbid them [from coming on campus]. Indonesian values are to safeguard morality”, said Nasir when contacted by Detik by telephone on Monday morning, January 24.
Nasir’s comments were in response to reports that the Support Group and Resource Center on Sexuality Studies (SGRC) at the University of Indonesia (UI) campus is offering counseling for LGBT people.
He says that LGBT groups cannot be allowed on campuses. “I forbid them from all higher education institutions in Indonesia that are under of the [authority] of the Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education”, he asserted.
Nasir explained that he contacted the UI rector after the existence of the SGRC on campus became widely discussed. “It turns out that even they (UI) banned [them] and said they didn’t have permission”, he said.
UI authorities have explained that the SGRC, which provides counseling for LGBT people, is not part of UI and that the study centre has never submitted a request for permission to do so from those in authority at UI.
On its website at <sgrcui.wordpress.com>, the SGRC does indeed include the name UI after its name so it reads SGRC UI and the SGRC logo also includes the Capricorn logo of UI.
On its blog the SGRC refers to itself as a student organisation at UI that is active in scholarly thinking. The organisation, which was established on May 17, 2014, strives for a more comprehensive understanding of gender and sexuality issues through discussion.
There are also monthly gatherings of members who discuss studies related to sexuality as well as seminars on sexuality. The SGRC emphasises that it never pushes people to becoming or cures people from being LGBT. (van/nrl)
[Translated by James Balowski for the Indoleft News Service. The original title of the report was Ketua MPR: Kelompok LGBT Harus Dilarang Masuk Kampus!.]