LGBT-RIGHTS IN DECLINE - A QUALITATIVE STUDY OF THE EXPERIENCES OF LGBT-PEOPLE IN INDONESIA
Abstract: The aim of this study is to highlight the situation for LGBT-people in Bali with regard to the political changes in the country. Firstly, the living situation for LGBT-people have been investigated and secondly the possible effects that the newly implemented anti-LGBT policies have had on LGBT-people have been examined through interviews with six informants currently living in Bali. What has been unearthed is that LGBT-people have in the past lived in a climate of relative tolerance with discretion as a caveat; as long as LGBT-identities weren’t officially proclaimed, and same-sex relations were handled discreetly, LGBT-people haven’t been burdened with discrimination and violence. Contemporary research suggests that the current political developments regarding LGBT-rights, marked by swift and sweeping changes of a radical nature, have resulted in LGBT-people in Indonesia now facing discrimination and violence - even when LGBT-people attempt to handle their sexuality with discretion. However, this research suggests that this is not the case, and that LGBT-people aren’t as greatly affected or concerned with the political developments as have been suggested by scholars. As explained, reasons for this appear to be found in how LGBT-people lead their lives with discretion, which is a recurrent theme for many LGBT-people in Indonesia. However, another reason for this can be found in the strength of the LGBT-community, which appear to refute the negative consequences of belonging to a stigmatised and marginalised group for its members. Indeed, many LGBT-people found friendship, emotional support, improved healthcare and employment through the community.
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