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Indonesian LGBT people receive government employment boost

Attorney-General’s Office backtracks on employment ban sparking calls for all departments to follow suit

Indonesian LGBT people receive government employment boost
A transgender woman takes part in a Jakarta rally in this March 2017 file photo to mark International Women’s Day. (Photo ucanews.com)
Katharina R. Lestari, Jakarta
Indonesia

September 22, 2017

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Rights activists in Indonesia have called on all government institutions to take a leaf out of the Attorney-General Office’s book and drop a recruitment policy that bans Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people.

The call comes after the Attorney-General’s Office backtracked on a job announcement issued earlier this month in which it said applicants should not have any "mental illnesses," including people with "abnormal sexual orientation and transgender people."

The about turn followed a rebuke from the National Commission on Human Rights, which called the stipulation a form of discrimination.

"Other institutions must follow the Attorney-General’s Office in dropping the criteria," Hartoyo, chairman of Suara Kita (Our Voice) or an LGBT advocacy organization, told ucanews.com on Sept. 19.

"In reality though I am not confident government agencies would still accept LGBT people if they are aware of their sexuality or gender status," said Hartoyo, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.

Discrimination against LGBT people in the workplace remains strong, he said.

Ryan Korbarri, general secretary of Arus Pelangi, another LGBT rights group, saw the Attorney-General Office’s climb-down a step in the right direction.

"LGBT people have little chance of getting government jobs as many institutions still ban them. Transgender people are the most affected," he said.

Every citizen’s right to work is guaranteed by the 1945 Constitution. "Still, the state fails to give this right to LGBT people. This is outright discrimination," he said.

For Mami Yuli, a Catholic transgender woman, the Attorney-General Office’s decision could be a barometer for other government institutions.

She said she was once a victim of discrimination by a government department.

"The Attorney-General’s Office has a better understanding about LGBT people. This is a breakthrough," the chairwoman of the Indonesian Transgender Communication Forum said.

Andreas Harsono, an Indonesian researcher at Human Rights Watch, said the Attorney General’s Office was the first government department to show such a positive stance towards LGBT people.

"This deserves praise, even though the implementation needs to be monitored," he said.

Attorney General’s office spokeswoman Yuni Daru said the anti-LGBT requirement was initially made because the office mistakenly thought LGBT people would not be assertive enough to do the job required.

"In this work, they will encounter things such as murder and corruption and the office needs assertive employees," she told The Jakarta Post.

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