Indonesia’s Sharia police shaved several transgender women’s heads and “paraded them in front of the public” as part of a recent “community sickness operation.”
According to Pink News, “Authorities also dressed the trans women in stereotypically male clothing, in an effort ‘to turn them into men’,” during the “operasi penyakit masyarakat” raid, which means “community sickness operation” in English.
North Aceh Regency Police Chief Ahmad Untung Surianata reportedly claimed the twelve transgender women were a “social disease” and would be detained “until they really become men.”
“The officers also nurtured them by way of having them run for some time and telling them to chant loudly until their male voices came out,” he declared. “There were mothers who came crying to me, worried about their children… This is not right, and we hope this social disease can be resolved.”
Amnesty International condemned the operation, noting that Indonesia had become “an increasingly hostile place” for LGBT people amid increased persecution and crackdowns in the nation.
“The latest raids on beauty salons are just the latest example of the authorities arbitrarily targeting transgender people simply for who they are,” they proclaimed. “Cutting the hair of those arrested to ‘make them masculine’ and forcing them to dress like men are forms of public shaming and amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, in contravention of Indonesia’s international obligations.”
Though homosexuality isn’t explicitly illegal in Indonesia, the largest Muslim nation in the world, persecution against LGBT people has been on a sharp rise.
Several LGBT apps were recently forced off the Google Play Store in Indonesia, including popular gay dating app Blued, and in December, the country narrowly rejected a law that would criminalize gay sex and sex before marriage.
In October, it was also reported that Indonesia was considering a ban on LGBT television characters, and following a gay club crackdown in December, ten men were sentenced to prison for between two and three years.