LGBT Discrimination in Military and Police

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  • TEMPO.CO, JakartaMore than a dozen military and police personnel have been discharged for having a sexual orientation seen as deviant. This is a violation of the Constitution. 

    THE National Police (Polri) and the Indonesian Military (TNI) violated the Constitution when they discharged members because of their sexual orientation. Senior officers in both institutions should revoke the discharge of these 16 men.

    As we reported in this edition, more than a dozen military and police personnel were fired because of their sexual orientation. This is despite the fact that not a single article in the Police Law or the TNI Law covers this. The discharges were carried out based on internal regulations that have less legal standing than existing laws.

    The soldiers were discharged based on a telegram from the TNI commander on the ban on same sex relations. Senior military officers also said that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender or LGBT is a violation of Article 62 of the TNI Law, namely an attitude or act that could cause a breakdown of military discipline. Meanwhile the police officers were discharged based on a police chief regulation on the professional code of ethics. Both of these bases are at odds with the Constitution, which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation. 

    These punishments for discriminative reasons should be revoked. In particular, the demotion for three years and a ban on holding any position until retirement imposed upon Brig. Gen. EP is a clear violation of Police Chief Regulation No. 8/2009 on the implementation of principles and standards of human rights in the carrying out of police duties. The one-star general has also been ordered to apologize and undergo a year's therapy.  

    The problem of LGBT discrimination in the security forces originates from discriminative statements by state officials. Initially the chairman of the Military Chamber of the Supreme Court said that the "LGBT phenomenon" was a result of environmental influences leading to deviant behavior. A TNI spokesman subsequently stated that homosexuality was a "psychological disease" despite the World Health Organization removing homosexuality from the list of mental and physical disturbances in 1990.

    It is widely known that members of the LGBT community often fall victim to detention, attacks, evictions and hatred. Unfortunately, discrimination, verbal and physical assaults against those seen as different are still viewed as normal. The LGBT community is often labeled as a group that is at odds with religious and behavioral norms and is referred to as deviant. Often, its members are labeled as "cursed" meaning that violence and incitement of hatred against them are seen as commonplace.  

    This discriminative behavior even results in them losing their basic rights as citizens. Many of them find it difficult to obtain public services, including obtaining ID cards, which cause a problem because of the need to state a gender.  

    This mistaken view of the LGBT community is in general held by conservatives of all religions. Indonesia is not a nation based on religion. Therefore, senior TNI and National Police officers cannot take decisions based on it. These kinds of bigotry are of course at odds with the policy of the government that has long campaigned against radicalism. 

    Read the Complete Story in Tempo English Magazine