In Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim democracy, anti-LGBT rhetoric is leading to a new HIV crisis. Complicit authorities are vanishing Healthcare system and ONG’s efforts to educate and prevent the community.
In the 90s, after a long battle, activists and LGBT people were free to live, meet and carry out their works in a democratic way. They create big campaigns to raise awareness and lots of associations started education programs on prevention and transmission, counseling support services and distribution of condoms and HIV testing kits. They also started to hope in great future changes that never arrived.
Indeed since 2015 police start to arrest homosexual or transgender people in public and private spaces to make them hide their real being. A recent example of this persecution is the two men arrested because they were linked to a LGBT Facebook page.
The central government clearly supports police, Islamic fundamentalists and anti-LGBT spokesmen without stopping these violent raids and arrests. In 2016 the Indonesian Minister of defence stated about LGBT community: “It is a modern form of war, to undermine Indonesian credibility”.
Due to this racist atmosphere organizations are becoming more and more prudent in their campaign by working on a smaller scale without a great publicity of their really useful actions.
Indeed these associations, as Inset which fight for and help transgender inhabitants of Lombok’s island, help the majority of these people that cannot be part of Indonesian society because of their being. They live as outsider and they cannot take advantage of the educational and healthcare system. Moreover, transgender people, which are called “waria” are marginalized because they cannot pray in mosques since men and women must pray in a separate place. Waria is a mix of wanita (woman) and pria (man).
This situation is leading to a new spread of HIV which has increased from 5% in 2007 to 25% in 2015 and it is still increasing. Only half of the Indonesian homosexual men has ever tested for HIV and only the 9% of who is affected is now taking the medication. The main reasons of the latter percentage are: their embarrassment and the high costs of therapy. This emergency is also used by Front Jihad Islam to condemn LGBT people. The government is the main culprit and it allows this just to be more popular.