Indonesian police arrest transgender beauticians, citing Islamic law

Indonesian police arrest transgender beauticians, citing Islamic law
1 min read
29 January, 2018
Discrimination against LGBT members is common across Indonesia, but particularly severe in the autonomous Aceh province.
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.