Indonesian police arrest transgender beauticians, citing Islamic law

Indonesian police arrest transgender beauticians, citing Islamic law
Discrimination against LGBT members is common across Indonesia, but particularly severe in the autonomous Aceh province.
1 min read
29 January, 2018
A group of conservative Muslims march against the LGBT community in Banda Aceh [Getty]

Indonesian police on Sunday forcibly cut the hair of a group of transgender women, forced them to wear male clothes and told them to speak in a masculine voice as part of a general crackdown on the country’s LGBT community, according to AFP.

Police in the conservative Aceh province raided several beauty salons and rounded up a dozen transgender employees following reports they had teased a group of boys.

“Their [transgenders] numbers are growing here – I don’t want that,” said Ahmad Untung Surianata, the local police chief.

Police accused the beauty salon employees of violating the province’s religious laws – the employees will be held for several days, followed by a five-day “training regimen" and “morals teaching," authorities added.

Aceh, which is located on Sumatra island, has been ruled by conservative Islamic law since being granted special autonomy in 2001 – an attempt by Indonesia’s central government to stifle a long-running separatist insurgency.

Unlike the rest of Indonesia, homosexuality remains illegal in Aceh.

Yet officials have been using the country's strict anti-pornography laws in a recent string of raids against Indonesia's LGBT community.

In December, a petition to ban all sex outside of marriage, effectively criminalizing homosexuality, was narrowly defeated by Indonesia's Constitutional Court.