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Trans-women's group speaks out against draft anti-LGBT bylaw in Depok

Tempo - July 23, 2019

Irsyan Hasyim, Depok – The Depok City government along with the Depok Regional House of Representatives (DPRD) are discussing a draft regional regulation (raperda) against Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people. But the policy has attracted protests from a number of groups including human rights and health organisations.

This time round, one of the LGBT community groups in Depok, the Depok Trans-Women Sisterhood (Persaudaraan Waria Depok, Perwade) has spoken out against the draft perda (bylaw). Perwade is concerned that if the anti-LGBT bylaw comes into force it will result in persecution and intimidation.

Perwade Chairperson Sofie says that as Indonesian citizens the LGBT community also has the right to live, carry out activities and interact with the rest of society.

"This will most certainly be used by intolerant groups to legitimise persecution against us", the 41-year-old trans-woman (waria) told Tempo on Monday July 22.

Sofie, the owner of a beauty salon in Tanah Baru, hopes that the Depok municipal government will provide space for trans-gender women to develop based on their individual wishes. She gave the example of empowering the LGBT community, particularly trans-women, so that they can be independent.

"Don't instead make regulations that threaten us and our activities", said Sofie, who has lived in Depok for 10 years.

Sofie related how since Perwade was established in 2017 the negative stigma against LGBT people has gradually become more abrasive. Perwade's members, who number around 30 people, are no longer able to walk around the streets as they used to.

A number of Perwade members work as make-up artists in production houses. "Even if there are still waria who work as street buskers they can be counted on one hand. We [have to] educate them not to dress up too much", she said.

Seven political party fractions in the Depok DPRD have signed off on the draft anti-LGBT regulation. The proposal was sent to DPRD Speaker Hendrik Tangke Allo on December 31, 2018.

The seven factions are the Greater Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra), the Islamic based United Development Party (PPP), the Islamic National Mandate Party (PAN), the Golkar Party, the Illustrious National Restoration (RNB) faction, the Islamic based Justice and Prosperity Party (PKS) and President Joko Widodo's ruling Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P).

[Translated by James Balowski. The original title of the article was "Raperda Anti LGBT, Waria Depok Takut Dipersekusi".]

Source: https://metro.tempo.co/read/1227467/raperda-anti-lgbt-waria-depok-takut-dipersekusi