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Why the Queer Collective protested outside the Indonesian Embassy

The recent caning of two gay men in Aceh is one of many attacks against LGBT people.

queer collective

Students from the Student Representative Council’s Queer Action Collective travelled to the Indonesian Consulate in Maroubra on June 16 to protest the persecution of queer Indonesians.

We felt it imperative to mobilise and speak out against the discrimination against queer people in Indonesia. Australia and Indonesia have shared affiliations for years, and we feel Australia can set an impressive precedent if it chooses to accept queer refugees from Indonesia

The protesters urged the Indonesian Consulate to denounce these hate crimes, and called on the Australian government to accept Indonesians seeking refuge based on their sexuality or gender expression.

The Queer Collective students were joined by members from Campus Refugee Action Collective, SUPRA, and the 78’ers.

The protest comes as a result of hateful laws targeting LGBTI Indonesians as well as sex workers in Indonesia. Indonesia has seen an increase in targeted attacks on LGBTI people, the criminalisation of gay men and sex workers under “pornography laws”, the caning of two gay men in Aceh, and the arrest of 141 gay men in Jakarta.

Western Sydney University student Sol Alliya Yoga spoke to the specifics of these incidents, stating, “the Australian public should be more aware of the state of LGBT affairs in Indonesia. Bans on premarital sex, overuse of pornography laws, and state sanctions on consensual sex in Aceh target and persecute LGBT people and sex workers.”

Peter Murphy from the 78’ers also spoke at the protest, stressing the importance of public awareness, similar to the awareness raised about LGBT persecution in Chechnya. Emotional statements from anonymous LGBT Indonesians currently residing in Jakarta and Bandung were also read aloud.

The protest concluded with the deliverance of a letter to the Indonesian Consulate, calling for a statement denouncing hate crimes against LGBTI Indonesians.

Student services counters have been closed all across campus. Art: Rebekah Wright.

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