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Transgender Women Forced to Look and Act Like Men by Authorities in Aceh

The fingernails of a transgender person are seen as she applies nail polish at her office in Banda Aceh, December 25, 2014. REUTERS/Beawiharta

A group of transgender women in Aceh had their hair forcibly cut by the local police, who also made them put on male clothing and speak in masculine voices.

The 12 transgender women, who were rounded in several beauty salons where they worked, were targeted by the police following claims they had teased a group of boys. “We have reports from mothers that their sons were teased by the transgender women,” local police chief Ahmad Untung Surianata said, as quoted by The Guardian.

As they were taken to the police station, the transgender employees were apparently approached by dozens of locals who tried to attack them. However, the attackers were pushed back by authorities.

The police said the women who were rounded up will be given counselling and coaching to help them act like real men again. According to Usman Hamid, Indonesia director of Amnesty International, the measures taken by the police are a violation of human rights.

“The police’s so-called ‘re-education’ of transgender people is not only humiliating and inhumane, it is also unlawful and a clear breach of their human rights. Such incidents must be promptly and effectively investigated,” Usman said.

Indonesia has seen its authorities implement a crackdown on the LGBT community. Additionally, the province of Aceh implements its own autonomous sharia law, and gay behavior is considered a crime.


Photo courtesy of Reuters/Beawiharta

For further reading on attitudes toward the LGBT community in Indonesia, click here.

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