Indonesia has decided to ban Grindr, Blued, BoyAhoy and dozens other LGBT websites and apps.
The Indonesian government reportedly started looking into banning gay dating apps in the country after exposing an alleged gay prostitution ring.
The decision for the ban was made clear last week during a closed-door meeting among government officials, according to BuzzFeed.
‘The participants of the meeting all agree to block websites promoting LGBT,’ Aidil Chendramata, director of information security for the Ministry of Communications, told BuzzFeed News following the meeting. ‘Most of the contents are leading toward pornography [and have] violated the law on pornography and the law on child protection.’
The Communications Ministry spokesperson Noor Iza shared with AFP that the government has notified three online service providers to actualise the ban.
‘We are starting to block LGBT applications,’ Iza said, explaining that the idea was to take down avenues that promote ‘sexual deviancy.’
According to BuzzFeed, more than 80 websites and apps with LGBT content would be affected. Companies such as Google and Apple have reportedly been officially requested by the Indonesian government to remove the apps from their digital stores. It’s still uncertain however if the companies will follow through with the instructions.
Yuli Rustinawati, chair of the LGBT group Arus Pelangi, commented that the ban will only make the local LGBT community even more vulnerable.
‘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.’
Prominent Indonesian gay rights activist Dede Oetomo commented that the government was seeking to ‘create fear in society’ and the authorities were ‘experiencing a moral panic’ to have come to the decision.
Indonesia, which is the fourth most populous country in the world, is also considering whether to ban gay sex entirely. The country’s top court is looking at a judicial review, a case brought by a conservative Islamic group.
‘We see the moral degradation that is happening,’ Rita Hendrawaty Soebagio of Family Love Alliance told AFP. ‘This is purely because of our love for our nation. We must do something while we have a chance.’