Indonesian netizens slam family planning board’s assertion that homosexuality hampers development

Photo illustration
Photo illustration

Another day, another mind-boggling assertion about the LGBT community in Indonesia.

This time, it’s from the National Population and Family Planning Board, also known as the BKKBN, which today said homosexuality is not only a disease that can and should be cured, but is also “an enemy of development.”

In a report by Antara, BKKBN Principal Secretary Nofrijal explained what he characterized as the negative correlation between non-heteronormative sexual identities and economic progress.

“Aside from violating religion, this sexual deviation also weakens us from attaining our demographic bonus,” Nofrijal was quoted as saying, referring to the predicted surge in working-age Indonesians, which is expected to boost the country’s development.

Nofrijal described belonging to the LGBT community as a curable disease, and asserted that leaders across the country must be committed to fight it, as a matter of duty to the younger generation — whom, he claimed, “must be saved.”

Indonesian netizens, always quick to provide a social media response, took to Twitter to react to the comments.

“I don’t get why, as I never asked [for being LGBT] to be legalized. I live a pretty chill life as I drink Chatime. [But] LGBT is always a target,” Twitter user @bblestea said.

Another Twitter user, highlighted the flawed logic of the BKKBN’s position. Pointing to one of the body’s priority programs, which encourages couples to have two kids in order to live a prosperous life, @MrWahid96 suggested that, unlike straight couples, gay couples didn’t have unwanted pregnancies and “throw away their babies.”

“Technically, they would help speed up development, right?” he said.

Twitter user @SoniaEryka, meanwhile, criticized BKKBN for being downright incompetent when it came to tackling its actual duties, which she claimed had led to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases in the country.

It’s certainly not the first time the vulnerable minority group has been used as a scapegoat in Indonesia. In fact, experts say that the LGBT-centric moral panic gripping the archipelago has not only violated the rights and privacy of the country’s gay and transexual individuals, but has also exacerbated an HIV/AIDS epidemic, by making it much harder for health outreach programs to reach those most at risk.

This isn’t the first time the BKKBN has been on the receiving end of social media criticism. Just last week, they were heavily criticized for their campaigns promoting the qualities of a good wife, which were viewed as being overly patriarchal.

In one infographic, the BKKBN claimed that a wife’s well-being depended upon her husband. This included being beautiful, which they say only happens when the husband gives them the right to make themselves up.

Along with many other social media users, the founder of women’s empowerment startup Queenrides, Iim Fahima Jachja, expressed her objection to the post.

“If any of you knows someone from BKKBN, please tell them: use your brains when making content. Women, without having to rely on the support of their husbands, can become a beautiful, grateful, moral and righteous woman,” Iim tweeted.

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