LGBT+ rights have seemingly taken a hit lately in Indonesia amid an unsettling wave of homophobia triggered by a controversial podcast. Yet one diplomatic mission remains steadfast in reflecting its home nation’s support for the marginalized community.
To mark the May 17 International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT), the British Embassy in Jakarta on May 18 raised the LGBT+ flag on its premises, right next to the Union Jack.
“Sometimes it is important to take a stand for what you think is right, even if disagreement between friends can be uncomfortable,” the embassy wrote in the caption of an Instagram post about the LGBT+ flag raising.
“We urge the international community to eradicate discrimination, including based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and to promote diversity and tolerance. We urge countries to decriminalise consensual same sex relations, and to introduce legislation that protects LGBT+ people from all forms of discrimination.”
Comments flooded the post, many of which were critical of the embassy.
“That flag shouldn’t be raised in our land, please respect us,” one commenter said.
Supporters of the cause were quick to note that, technically, the LGBT+ flag was raised on UK territory, therefore the haters’ criticisms were moot.
“[P]ositive vibe only here people! If you want to say something hateful, just keep it to yourself,” another commenter wrote.
Coconuts has reached out to the embassy for comment.
In recent weeks, homophobic sentiments have been on the rise in Indonesia after a gay couple (one of them being Indonesian, the other German) was interviewed for one of the country’s most popular podcasts. What followed was swift and immense backlash from the public, religious authorities, and even high-ranking politicians who argued that even though homosexuality and queerness is not illegal, Indonesians should not rally for their cause.