The government is rounding up trans people for being ‘social misfits’ in Indonesia

In Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, the government has been systematically rounding up trans people and sending them to ‘rehabilitation’.

The Jakarta Social Agency admitted it now declares trans people as ‘people with social dysfunctional traits’.

Trans women in Indonesia are known as waria.

Chaidir is the head the Agency’s rehabilitation affairs department.

‘Soon after we have a waria admitted to a social house, we will notify her family or her community to organize her release,’ he told the Jakarta Post.

Chaidir said the new initiative was made to act as a ‘deterrent’ to trans people expressing who they are.

‘[It’s done] to create a deterrent effect, so that [the province] will know that one of their residents has become Jakarta’s social problem,’ he said.

After a family is notified, they must then complete paperwork to prove the waria’s residential address.

Don’t repeat ‘violations’

But it was proved there a person’s release was guranteed just because their family did the paperwork.

A senior police officer admitted to tearing up the form he needed to sign for a mother to have her trans daughter released from custody.

Tarnisem visited the Duri Kosambi subdistrict police multiple times to get the paperwork signed for daughter’s release.

But its head, Irwansyah, tore up the forms.

‘I tore the document so that [Tarnisem] and others wouldn’t misuse it,’ Irwansyah told Warta Kota.

‘Just let [Neneng] spend some more time in the social house to create a deterrent effect [to being transgender].’

If trans people repeat their ‘violation’ after their release from social housing they will be charged.

‘Once or twice is still OK, but if we catch them a third time, they can be sent to jail for committing the same violation over and over,’ Chaidir said.

The disturbing new policy in Jakarta follows the repeated harassment and detention of trans women in the conservative province of Aceh. 

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