Thirty-one groups from eight southeast Asian countries gathered in Jakarta, Indonesia at the ASEAN People’s Forum to call for the “the recognition, promotion, and protection of LGBTIQ rights” by their governments.

“In Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, and Burma, authorities arrest, detain and persecute individuals because of colonial laws that criminalise their sexual orientation or gender identity,” the ASEAN Lesbian Gay Bisexual Intersex and Queer Peoples Caucus noted.

“In other ASEAN countries, certain laws are abused with impunity to harass or persecute individuals whose sexuality or gender is deemed unacceptable, immoral, or unnatural: anti-prostitution, anti-trafficking, or anti-pornography laws in

Indonesia and the Philippines are applied to conduct illegal raids in gay establishments or to nab transgenders, oftentimes subjecting them to humiliation and extortion.”

An anti-kidnapping law in the Philippines had been used to forcibly break up lesbian couples living in consensual and legitimate relationships.

“We are part of the people of ASEAN, and yet across the region we are treated as criminals and as second-class citizens,” the caucus told the forum.

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