Indonesian police 'coach' transgender women to act like 'real men'

Indonesian police 'coach' transgender women to act like 'real men'

The BBC reports that members of the North Aceh Police raided a number of beauty salons earlier this week, removing 12 transgender women staffers.

Local police are accusing the salon workers of breaching the religious laws of the Aceh province.

Dozens of locals tried to attack the group of beauticians as they were taken to the police station, but they were pushed back by authorities, they said.

The parliamentary committee has been holding consultations with the public, taking the opinion of religious scholars, legal experts and rights groups over how to change the criminal code where it relates to extramarital sex.

Police then cut some of their long hair with scissors, as well as forcing them to wear "male" clothing and speak in "masculine" voices.

"There were mothers who came crying to me, anxious about their children", said district police chief Ahmad Untung.

North Aceh Police Chief Untung Sangaji told the crowd, "Our [Muslim scholars] disagree with this disease... Their numbers are growing here - I don't want that", Surianata said.

The official said his actions were approved by local ulama (Islamic clergy) and that those detained would also undergo drug tests.

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Tunggal Pawestri, an Indonesian human rights activist, told CNN it was "crystal clear" police had violated the human rights of the transgender women in Sunday's raids. Additionally, the province of Aceh implements its own autonomous sharia law, and gay behavior is considered a crime.

This month a Christian was publicly flogged for selling alcohol in the conservative region, making him the third non-Muslim in Indonesia to suffer a public whipping.

In total, five beauty salons were raided and 12 transgender women detained.

Surianata said the operation had been part of a campaign to prevent LGBT people from "adversely affecting" Indonesia's next generation.

But a draft, seen by Reuters on Monday, included measures to criminalise extramarital sex, same-sex relations, and co-habitation, all of which were previously unregulated by law. Prejudice against trans people, while widespread across the country, is particularly acute in the province.

Indonesia has seen its authorities implement a crackdown on the LGBT community.

Since 2015 there have been raids on gay saunas, calls for the criminalization of homosexuality and statements made by prominent politicians about the evils of LGBT rights, with one saying it was more risky to Indonesia than "nuclear war".

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