Jakarta – The National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) says that the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community will be one of the groups that will be most vulnerable to politicisation during the upcoming 2024 legislative and presidential elections.
This was revealed by Komnas HAM Commissioner Pramono Ubaid Tanthowi after the commission conducted pre-electoral monitoring between April and May 2023.
"They are vulnerable to becoming victims of politicisation. Say for example there are caleg [legislative candidates] or [political] parties that for example say, 'We're anti-LGBT, we'll eradicate LGBT' or like this and that", said Tanthowi when speaking in Central Jakarta on Friday May 12.
Tanthowi believes that anti-LGBT calls have the potential to be used to garner votes. The danger is, he said, is that the candidates that politicise LGBT do not care about the impact that this will have on the community.
According to Tanthowi, this could result in the community being discriminated against and suffering even worse persecution. Tanthowi reminded the public that LGBT people have the same rights as other citizens.
"So just in order to attract public sympathy from certain groups, now this for example is far more dangerous, so it's these vulnerabilities which still often occur in our society", he said.
"It takes a long time to make [people] aware of and be able to accept the presence of anyone, including the expression of what's called various sexual tendencies, so that's our problem in many places", he added.
In addition to this, Tanthowi said that the politicisation of LGBT also threatens their rights, especially their political rights.
Tanthowi also touched upon a statement by the mayor of the North Sumatra city of Medan, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's son-in-law Bobby Nasution, who openly declared that Medan is an LGBT free city.
Tanthowi said that this will make LGBT people feel ashamed and afraid to go to polling stations (TPS) to vote.
"[Our] LGBT friends feel will even more insecure because there have been statements by regional heads who declare that Medan city is LGBT free", said Tanthowi.
"This will make [our] friends even more insecure about going to a TPS. They're registered [to vote], okay, but they'll feel even more discouraged about going to a TPS", he added.
Komnas HAM Commissioner Saurlin Siagian also gave an example of a similar thing that happened in the East Java provincial capital of Surabaya. Komnas HAM found that LGBT groups felt harassed when they went to a polling station because they are often viewed with cynicism.
"This is also considered harassment. We must understand that this as harassment if they feel harassed", he said.
Siagian said that government and the General Elections Commission (KPU) must give special attention to the issue. "I think this is related to a massive [problem] and requires special attention, not just by the KPU but also the government", he said. (yla/fra)
- See: Peak Islamic body welcomes Jokowi's son-in-law's anti-LGBT stand in Medan. Detik Sulsel – January 1, 2023
[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Komnas HAM Nilai LGBT Rentan Dipolitisasi saat Pemilu 2024".]