Being Gay In Indonesia Is Not Always A Happy Time

In a recent workshop held in Jakarta for gays and lesbians, men and women recounted the problems they encountered living in a Muslim society when they informed parents and other family members about their sexual orientation. Valen, a gay man, said: “if I told my mother that I had decided to become a heterosexual, she would certainly throw a party.” He recounted to the audience how his partner had died in his house and he finally had to tell his mother that he was gay. “I got down on my knees and told her. I also said that even though our relationship is not deemed as normal, I treated my partner better than the way my heterosexual sister treated hers.” Eventually, his mother came to accept who he was.

A mother came onto the stage named Pinta and spoke from her heart about her children and their sexual beliefs. “I have promised all of my children that I will accept them and their problems no matter what, as long as they don’t hide anything from me, so I have to accept my son’s sexuality as well.”

Indonesia is the largest Muslim nation in the world and, unlike Muslim nations like Saudi Arabia, gays and lesbians can speak in public about their sexual identity without being punished.