Emma Powys Maurice – A same-sex Thai couple who shared their heartwarming wedding photos on social media have been flooded with vicious homophobic hate from Indonesian trolls.
Suriya Koedsang and his husband Bas found themselves in the middle of a cross-cultural flame war after they shared images from their marriage ceremony on 3 April.
Same-sex marriage is not yet recognised by law in Thailand, but like many Thai LGBT+ couples they threw a traditional wedding party to celebrate their union.
The newly-weds' post instantly attracted a wave of obscene comments, predominantly from Indonesia, where homosexuality is strictly illegal and met with corporal punishment.
By 11 April this had snowballed into death threats directed at the couple, Koedsang's parents, relatives, and even the photographer.
As of Friday (16 April), the post has racked up more than 469,000 comments and been shared over 40,000 times.
Commenters attacked their marriage as "forbidden by god" and the "cause of the world's doom," hurling a stream of insults ranging from pantek (asshole), kontol (penis) and orang gila (crazy people).
The couple were even sent a horrifying video of an Indonesian gender non-conforming person's throat being slit, Koedsang told the Jakarta Post.
He finally addressed the situation in a public Facebook post on 12 April after "non-stop [three] consecutive days and nights'" of threats.
"I have tons of questions in my head, 'Why?'" he asked.
"We married in my warm house and family, my own place, my own [motherland] and what is wrong with Indonesia and Indonesians? Why [the] need to be that dramatic? Why are you guys so harsh on us? Do I need to hide when I did nothing wrong?"
He went on to say that he respects all religions, mentioning the years he spent studying in Pattani, a Thai province where Islam is the primary religion.
"I have no problem at all, not even a difficult time, back there. Besides, my Muslim family always supported me the way I am," he said.
"Religion never teaches you to hate others, to look down on people. In contrast, religion leverages the human heart to be a good human."
Not all Indonesians reacted aggressively to the couple's wedding, however. The hashtag #IndonesiaSaySorryForThailand was trending worldwide on Twitter on Wednesday, with many saying they felt ashamed of the homophobic attacks.
"As an Indonesian and a part of LGBT, I am truly sorry for the mean comments and death threats. It is such a shame. Please forgive us," wrote one user named Shara.