Okay, the climate of moral panic over LGBT rights in Indonesia is really getting scary now. With messaging app LINE having been intimidated into pulling their pro-LGBT stickers in Indonesia and the government pushing Whatsapp and Facebook to follow suit, several prominent Indonesian politicians are now pushing for the government to block all websites containing pro-LGBT content.
“As the government blocks sites that are associated with radical terrorism, then it should also block sites that propagate LGBT,” Hidayat Nur Wahid, the vice-chairman of the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR), told Hidayatullah on Sunday, adding that the block should cover “online LGBT campaigns associated with foreign funding” (surely a reference to the UNDP’s initiative to protect LGBT rights) as they could cause “chaos” in Indonesia.
Hidayat is hardly the only Indonesian politician equating the fight to protect LGBT rights with terrorism.
“If BNPT (The National Counterterrorism Agency) can block sites that are suspected of terrorism, I think the government should think about doing the same thing related to sites that propagandize about LGBT,” said Nasir Jamil, a Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) politician and member of House Commission I, as quoted by Suara.
Nasir did say he agreed with Coordinating Minister for Legal, Political and Security Affairs Luhut Binsar Panjaitan who said that LGBT individuals have rights that should be protected, but argued that the interests of the wider community should also be considered.
“Do not let these LGBT teachings spread to our society. We have to protect our people,” he said.
Some people might say that comparing pro-LGBT campaigners to terrorists, only a little over a month after terrorists killed and injured a bunch of innocent people in Jakarta, is insensitive and horrible on many different levels.
At any rate, there is not yet any indication that the government will actually go ahead with the pro-LGBT site block, yet. When asked by Detik about it, Ismali Cawidu, the head of public relations at the Ministry of Communications and Information, said that it was not up to his ministry to choose which sites to block, only to enforce the blocks. The choice lies with a special negative content censorship panel.
Ismali added that the panel also deals with content related to pornography and terrorism, and that they might discuss the LGBT issue during a meeting today.
Let’s say for a moment that the the government were to go ahead with trying to blocking all sites that are pro-LGBT content. Where would they draw the line? As we’ve pointed out before, pro-LGBT sites include Facebook, Google, Twitter not to mention anything related to Apple.
But even if they were to try and go specifically after sites that are focused on LGBT rights, which ones would they choose? Perhaps they’d like to start with sites aimed at counseling gay teens who are suicidal because they feel they have been completely rejected by their own families and society because of something they have no control over.