When a popular podcast host in Indonesia invited two men who were married to each other to their show, they had a polite on-air conversation about gay life and identity.
But in a Muslim-majority country where gay rights are at stake, the show has provoked strong reactions from conservative fans and religious authorities. Host Daddy Corbusier then deleted the interview from his social media pages and uploaded a recent interview with an Islamic scholar in which he apologized for “causing a commotion”.
Mr Corbusier’s 180-degree turn this week highlights tensions in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country. Even when more gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in Indonesia assert themselves and gain acceptance from their families and communities, with the help of a conservative movement on social media – such sexual identities It is trying to present itself as a threat to national unity.
“There is animosity on online platforms, and it fuels negative public discourse about homosexuality,” said Hendry Ulysses Vijaya.
“But we need to be very careful not to confuse what happens in public discourse with our daily lives,” he added. “Violence, stigma, negative perceptions: all of these things we face. But at the same time, we still have a place to navigate our daily lives and become who we are.
In Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries, homosexual life, if left behind, has been tolerated for decades, and the legal climate throughout the Asia-Pacific region has become more tolerant in recent years. ۔ In 2019, Taiwan Same-sex marriage legalized. The first and second historical laws for Asia have also been passed. Take a step towards He has moved towards the goal. Making homosexuality a crime.
In Indonesia, which is officially secular and has laws that protect citizens from discrimination, some politicians launched a campaign almost six years ago to pass sanctions against homosexuals. They have tried to link LGBT people to immorality, disease and so on. Violation of Indonesian culture. In 2016, under pressure from right-wing Islamic groups, police began work. Arresting homosexuals in groupsFirst in public places and then in their homes.
“It’s hard to be gay in this country,” said Gun Webesono, a social psychologist in Indonesia who is gay and an LGBT activist. “Very, very difficult. We feel we are being seen everywhere and we cannot be ourselves.
Mr. Corbusier’s May 7 podcast, “Lessons on Homosexuality in Indonesia,” featured a conversation with an Indonesian man, Ragel Mahardika, and her husband, Frederick Walter, who is German. In which they talked about their lives together and thought about homosexuals. identity.
“I would say I was born that way and I’m not making it,” Mr Mahardika said at the time of the episode. “Ever since I was little, I thought I was different from my friends.”
The podcast episode, viewed more than six million times on YouTube, was not really a “tutorial.” And it was mostly about the couple’s life in Germany (where they got married in 2018), not in Indonesia.
Even so, the results of the 45-year-old Mr. Corbzier came quickly.
A group of fans and religious leaders in Indonesia condemned the couple’s interview, saying it was an insult to Islam by portraying gay life in a positive light. There was news of a reaction. First reported by Coconut.A media company covering Southeast Asia, and several local news outlets.
One of Mr Corbzier’s strongest critics was Anwar Abbas, vice chairman of the Indonesian Ulema Council, an organization of the country’s top Muslim scholars. Mr Abbas told the New York Times this week that gay marriage was worse than the atomic bombs dropped by the US military on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
“If it was a bomb, only people living in the area would die,” he said. But if a man marries a man or a woman marries a woman, there will be no man left on this planet. There will be no children on this earth.
To appease such critics, Mr. Corbusier, who could not be reached for comment, deleted the interview from his social media pages. Instead, he posted a recent interview with Gus Muftah, an Islamic scholar.
In the conversation, Mr. Muftah defended the host of the podcast as he tried to clarify whether Mr. Corbesier had invited a gay couple to his show because of their behavior. Was approved.
There was no answer, Mr. Corbusier said.
“I’m sorry if this is really a riot,” he said. But I’m not campaigning for that. This trend is there and we have to be vigilant. “
So why, Maulvi asked, was this episode billed as a “tutorial” on being gay?
“So people who don’t want to be gay know how to figure it out,” Mr Corbzier said. He likened the interview to a motorcycle theft video that people can watch to avoid their motorcycle being stolen.
Mr Mahardika, 30, who is currently in Jakarta, said in an interview on Thursday that he expected the podcast episode to go viral and was not surprised by the controversy that ensued. He also said that being openly gay in Indonesia, he feared for his safety, and that the podcast did not pose a significant threat.
“Whether it’s a podcast or a podcast, when people knew I was coming to Indonesia, I was already a bad name in the eyes of those who thought I was bad,” he said. “But there is a good name in the eyes of those who see me as a regal, a man of values.”