Indonesia is rounding up trans people and forcing them into ‘rehabilitation’

Indonesia is rounding up trans people and forcing them into ‘rehabilitation’
Image: Image: Warta Kota/Hamdi Putra.

Indonesia’s government is reportedly rounding up trans people in Jakarta and forcing them into ‘rehabilitation’ for the ‘violation’ of being transgender.

The Jakarta Social Agency has now said it considers trans people to be ‘people with social dysfunctional traits’ in the latest instance of LGBTI people being persecuted in Indonesia.

The agency’s head of rehabilitation affairs, Chaidir, said the agency has conducted regular raids on trans women, known in Indonesia as waria.

“Soon after we have a waria admitted to a social house, we will notify her family or her community to organize her release,” he told The Jakarta Post.

Chaidir said families would have to meet all administrative requirements to ensure a woman’s release, with an emphasis on documentation proving they are not homeless.

Last week, an official deliberately tore up a document which prevented a mother from securing her trans daughter’s release.

Trans women are forced into the so-called ‘rehabilition’ centres as a “deterrent” to being trans. If waria are from outside Jakarta, their home province is notified.

Chaidir said this was done “to create a deterrent effect, so that [the province] will know that one of their residents has become Jakarta’s social problem.”

The woman was eventually able to have her daughter released from the facility.

Chaidir said anyone detained at one of the centres is forced to sign a statement saying they won’t repeat their ‘violation’.

“Once or twice is still OK, but if we catch them a third time, they can be sent to jail for committing the same violation over and over,” Chaidir said.

The country’s increasingly anti-LGBTI stance has repeatedly come under fire, including from Greens senator Janet Rice, who implored the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, to speak to the Indonesian authorities and address the abuses.

In recent months, Indonesia has officially classified sexual and gender diversity as a “mental disorder”, while trans women have previously been rounded up, forced to wear men’s clothing, and had their heads shaved.

The country has also been moving towards banning all non-marital and same-sex sexual activity.

Last year, Aceh province began using corporal punishment against LGBTI people, including public canings.

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