In this episode, we discuss the latest controversy around the topic of LGBT in Indonesia, which really started with the inflammatory comments made by the Minister of Technology, Research, and Higher Education Muhammad Nasir on January 24th. His comments started a frenzy of backlash against the LGBT in Indonesia, with increasingly negative and often threatening language coming from both politicians (such as former minister Tifatul Sembiring and mayor of Tangerang Arief Wismansyah) and Indonesian netizens, with the #TolakLGBT (Reject LGBT) hashtag growing more and more popular by the day. Only a few have opposed this backlash, with the Coordinating Minister of Politics, Legal, and Security Affairs Luhut Pandjaitan as one of the most high-profile individuals to speak out in support the LGBT.
As the conversation continued in both public and private spaces, the scientific ignorance as well as lack of empathy in any of these discussions were quite apparent. As such, we wanted to break down the vitriolic wall of hate and actually talk about topics such as sexuality, gender, and sexual orientation in the context of the LGBT controversy. Using examples from both academia and nature (shout-out to Alfred Kinsey and the gay Emperor penguins!), we question the assumption that these topics are exclusively binary as well as the presumption that there is any sense of a natural order/way in how the human species interact sexually.
There are no easy answers to the controversy, and as we speak many of those in the LGBT community in Indonesia are being driven out of their homes, fired from their jobs, and fearing for their lives—not just because of a minister’s callous and narrow-minded comments, but also because of the lack of positive support and empathy coming from the general population. As pro-LGBT allies, we at Dialogika recognize that we can not only empathize but must also be supportive to those whose are affected by this controversy, and we hope this first episode will inspire others to start having conversations and dialogue before making statements and/or taking positions that will threaten the lives & livelihoods of the already vulnerable & marginalized.
Thanks for listening!