Dyaning Pangestika and Ghina Ghaliya, Jakarta – In a turn of events that rocked the Twitter world, the Prabowo Subianto-led Gerindra Party took to the social media platform to convey the party's stance on the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community's rights to employment.
On Thursday, the party made a series of posts on its Twitter account @Gerindra to voice its rejections against the Attorney General's Office's (AGO) decision to ban LGBT people from applying for civil servant positions, saying that the LGBT community still "have their rights as citizens".
"The decision to reject the LGBT community as civil servant candidates by @KejaksaanRI is improper and is contradictory to Pancasila, especially the principles of belief in almighty God and a just and civilized humanity," Gerindra wrote, mentioning the AGO's official Twitter handle.
The move comes as a surprise for many, given that the nationalist party's politicians had previously conveyed a stance against LGBT people, including by proposing a draft bylaw to curb what they deemed as LGBT activities in Depok.
Gerindra immediately received backlash from its own supporters and Twitter users, who expressed their disappointment and lambasted the party for "defending LGBT" people.
Some users replied to Gerindra's post and said that they would no longer support or vote for the party, while some others questioned whether the party's Twitter account had gotten hacked. "Don't vote for Gerindra, [it] supports LGBT," Twitter user @BerylKlz said.
In response to the criticism, Gerindra posted other tweets in which it emphasized that the part's rejection of the AGO's LGBT ban was merely to uphold citizens' rights to employment, in accordance with Article 27 of the 1945 Constitution.
Twitter user @cokpan replied to Gerindra and asked, "Gerindra [sic] is supporting LGBT?" to which Gerindra replied that "We do not support their [LGBT] behavior. But their right to get a decent job and living."
We do not support their behavior. But their right to get a decent job and living. https://t.co/UkuzECpl6d – Partai Gerindra (@Gerindra) November 28, 2019
Some Twitter users defended Gerindra for voicing the party's opinion against the LGBT ban at the AGO, with them saying that the context of the party's statement was to call for the government to uphold the rights of all citizens, regardless of their sexuality.
User @LacinoAP replied to another user who voiced rejection of LGBT people from a religious point of view, saying that "Bro, this discussion is about LGBT as citizens, not about sins."
"It's up to you to see whether [LGBT] is a sin, but it should not become a reason to justify in eliminating their rights as citizens," the user wrote.
Homosexuality is not illegal in Indonesia, but the Muslim-majority country – which is grappling with religious conservatism – has continuously seen backlash against the minority group and anti-LGBT sentiment in recent years.
The AGO and the Trade Ministry made headlines weeks ago after putting forward a ban on LGBT jobseekers, mentioning among job requirements that applicants must not show "sexual orientation deviations" or "behavioral deviations."
The ban provoked widespread criticism from human rights activists and the Indonesian Ombudsman, which argued that such restrictions were discriminatory and against the Constitution.
While the Ombudsman said the ministry had removed such bans, the AGO recently justified its decision by saying that the office only wanted to accept "normal" applicants and that it did not want the "odd ones".
When asked for confirmation on Friday, Gerindra deputy chairman Sufmi Dasco Ahmad said the administrator of the Twitter account only wanted to assert the party's standpoint that "everyone has equal rights before the law", though he reasserted that the party "sternly rejected" the behavior of LGBT people. (ggq)