The city of Medan no longer welcomes sexual minorities (this country's constitution notwithstanding) according to its mayor Bobby Nasution, who declared the North Sumatra capital "anti-LGBT."
Bobby, who is President Joko Widodo's son-in-law, recently went on record condemning men who spent New Year's Eve with other men in the city.
"Along the road in front of City Hall I wondered why I saw men [coupled] with other men. That is unacceptable. There is no LGBT in the city of Medan. We are anti-LGBT," he said on Jan. 1.
"There isn't a single ethnic group in Medan that supports same-sex relationships. So let us adhere to our own cultural values, be it in terms of tradition and everyday lives, and also in relationships."
Bobby went on to say that he hopes for singles in the city to find their heterosexual partners, marry, and have kids.
Other than in the province of Aceh, Indonesia does not criminalize same-sex relations, sexual preferences, or sexual expressions. That said, the LGBTQ+ community constantly faces persecution and even prosecution using ambiguous laws related to moral values.
Homophobic statements from high-ranking officials like Bobby's have only exacerbated sexual minorities' woes.
It remains to be seen if Bobby's statement represented anything more than pure homophobic rhetoric to appease his conservative supporters. That certainly isn't a tactic his father-in-law, who has remained mostly quiet about issues related to LGBTQ+ rights throughout his presidency, has ever employed for political gain.
The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) has warned Bobby that such discrimination is against the country's constitution.
"All citizens of this nation must be protected from discrimination based on race, religion, sexual orientation, and more," Komnas HAM Commissioner Anis Hidayah said yesterday.