While last year’s LGBT panic in Indonesia has largely died down, LGBT individuals still face serious discrimination here in all facets of their lives. The most recent example of institutionalized homophobia in Indonesia comes from a university that has made it their official policy to refuse any and all LGBT students.
Last week, Universitas Andalas (Unand) in Padang, West Sumatra, stirred controversy after several people noticed that the Unand website told applicants to the school that they had to sign a letter declaring that they were not a part of the LGBT community. The requirement soon went viral, after which Unand took it down from their website.
But it appears that they didn’t remove the no-LGBT requirement out of shame. Asked by the media, Unand’s chancellor Tafdil Husni made it very clear that his university has an official policy of discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation.
“We removed it because it was incomplete. We will complete the requirements, and then make it as a guide for new students,” Tafdil told Tempo yesterday.
“If they don’t sign the form, then they can’t enter Unand.”
Tafdil argued that Unand, a state university, reserves the right to refuse education to LGBT individuals because of religious teachings. He believes the influence of LGBT individuals could have a negative effect on campus life and that they could be banned on similar grounds as banning public smoking in Singapore.
As for LGBT individuals who slip through Unand’s LGBT filter, Tafdil said the university would “rehabilitate” them before eventually kicking them off campus.
The Padang Legal Aid Institute (LBH) rightly argued that Unand’s LGBT ban is unconstitutional (again, Unand is a state university).
“The [non-LGBT declaration] form hurts the principles and non-discrimination values in education,” said LBH Padang director Era Purnama Sari.
LBH Padang is asking for Unand to remove the non-LGBT requirement. It’s unclear if sanctions could be filed against Unand if they refuse to do so.