Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, has agreed to block dozen of gay websites and apps in the country. The three specific websites at the center of this crackdown are the dating sites and applications Grindr, Blued, and BoyAhoy.
A total of 80 websites and apps are facing a full ban in the country, including not just dating sites but news magazine sites tailored to an LGBT audience.
According to Pink News, Communications Ministry Spokesman Noor Iza said, “gay networking apps including Grindr, Blued and BoyAhoy would be blocked in the country, claiming they were ‘promoting gay lifestyles.’” Iza went on to argue that the banned sites and apps promote “sexual deviancy.”
The chair of an LGBT group known as Arus Pelangi, Yuli Rustinawati, expressed extreme concern regarding the implications of the ban, as dating apps are also used in oppressive countries like Indonesia as a way to link members of the LGBT community, not just to find romantic partners. Pink News reports, “If gay applications are closed down, it only makes the community even more isolated as they won’t be able to find friends via the virtual world.” Rustinawati said, “It is quite strange to ban people from finding friends.”
Many feel that this ban is a “trojan horse” for internet censorship, and censorship of gays, that should concern the whole country. If this ban is enforced, Indonesia will join countries like China and the United Arab Emirates who censor LGBT-friendly content on the internet.
The government of Indonesia, the world’s fourth most populous country and home to a majority of Muslims, has begun imposing Sharia restrictions on behavior at an increasing rate. Breitbart News reported earlier this month that Indonesia is considering a nationwide ban on alcohol, including on the island of Bali, a popular tourist destination: “Lawmakers are proposing a ban on alcohol sales and consumption throughout Indonesia, which may negatively affect the island of Bali’s booming tourist economy.”