LGBT groups fight for their rights

Come out: People wave gay movement flags (left and right) and the Brazilian flag during a march against homophobia in Brasilia, Brazil, on May 18. AP/Eraldo Peres
Come out: People wave gay movement flags (left and right) and the Brazilian flag during a march against homophobia in Brasilia, Brazil, on May 18. AP/Eraldo Peres

As people become more aware on LGBT issues, protests follow. Hartoyo, the secretary-general of LGBT rights organization OurVoice, said that was normal.

“As more [LGBT people] appear, rejection from certain groups will come too,” he said giving examples of groups such as the Islam Defenders Front (FPI) and the Muslim Forum (FUI). These groups protested an international LGBT event in Surabaya last year, intimidating the organizers to the point they canceled the event.

Hartoyo said he believed that Indonesian society was tolerant. “Hatred toward the LGBT group is based more on lack of non-judgmental media communication,” he said.

That is why his organization uses the Internet platform through writings on their website and videos on Youtube. “Through our website we try to express what we feel is happing inside of us,” he said. “OurVoice can be a media form where everyone has the right to disagree but they also have to listen to what LGBT people are going through,” he said.

He said the LGBT rights movement in Indonesia developed from being composed of patron type organizations — such as the transgendered women’s group that holds dance events to organizations that focus on the rights of LGBT people. In its third decade the advocacy movement has progressed far from the days of the 1980s when homosexual men and women and transgenders networked exclusively through the first and — at that time — the only gay magazine GAYa Nusantara.

Hartoyo’s organization OurVoice, and Arus Pelangi, Ardhanary Institute, are working more on the human rights issues concerning LGBT.

“After the reform era, organizations based more on human rights issues emerged and they hugely contribute to Indonesia’s LGBT discourse,” he said.

Eventually, Hartoyo said that the group aimed to gain political power that could ensure the state provides policies on LGBT rights.

Prodita Sabarini, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Feature | Sat, May 21 2011

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