We're beginning to lose track of the number of stories highlighting a recent rise in homophobic sentiment in Indonesia, with the recent temporary closure imposed on a South Jakarta cafe being just another drop in the expanding ocean of hate.
Yesterday, a video went viral showing what appear to be two pairs of gay men engaging in some harmless PDA at the establishment, which is located in Pancoran. By harmless, we mean two of the men were sitting on the laps of their respective partners, and the show of affection never went far beyond some warm cradling.
Yet the video triggered outrage in the community, with accusations filed towards the cafe that it's a popular gay hangout.
District heads, the police, and the Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) soon got involved, meeting with cafe management for clarification.
"We followed that up; the perpetrators in the video are now at the police precinct. The perpetrators will be criminally charged. But we don't know the charges yet, whether it's going to be for indecency or violation of UU ITE (Information and Electronic Transactions Act)," Pancoran District Head Rizki Adhari Yusal said yesterday evening.
It appears authorities have taken a detain first, slap with trumped up charges later approach to this case. After all, same-sex relations is not a crime in Indonesia – at least not yet.
The cafe has reportedly been ordered to shut temporarily for an unspecified length of time starting today. During the closure, South Jakarta's Tourism and Creative Economy Agency is expected to conduct training for the cafe's management and employees to ensure that their customers do not engage in immoral activities.