Hendri Yulius is a researcher and writer. He is the author of a number of books, including Coming Out, now available at Gramedia. He holds a master's degree from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore.
Last week, the government announced it would seek to ban three gay social networking apps, following the alleged misuse of Grindr in a child prostitution case. Hendri Yulius writes that the bans are representative of the government’s struggle to maintain power and authority in the internet era and show that the rapid development of information technology does not necessarily lead to advances in freedom of expression.
Rumours of a “same-sex marriage” between comedian Aming Supriatna Sugandhi and Evelyn Nada Anjani in early June saw a return of the national hand wringing over sexuality that Indonesia witnessed earlier this year. Hendri Yulius writes that their relationship demonstrates the complexity of gender and sexuality issues and exposes the inadequacy of Indonesian policy to cope with this complexity.
Over the past couple of weeks, security officials have confiscated books on the 1965 violence and leftist ideas to prevent what they describe as a “reawakening of communism”. Hendri Yulius looks at the long history of book banning and book burning in Indonesia and examines what this recent episode means for freedom of expression in the country.
Nine women from Central Java captured the nation’s attention last week when they encased their feet in cement blocks and demanded to meet President Joko Widodo. Hendri Yulius writes that despite the subordination of women in Indonesian society, women and mothers have on several occasions been key drivers of social change.
Last weekend, the minister of higher education, research and technology stated that he would ban LGBT Indonesians from all universities in the country. Although he has attempted to qualify this statement, Hendri Yulius describes how the incident is part of a trend of increasing restrictions on the discussion of LGBT issues in Indonesian universities.
Indonesian reporting on the arrest of so-called celebrity prostitute Nikita Mirzani has been detailed and profuse. Hendri Yulius writes that, whether we like to admit it or not, we all gain a degree of pleasure from reading these highly sexualised reports.
Late last month, Aceh began enforcing its Shari’a Criminal Code, the Qanun Jinayat. Why are legislators so obsessed with regulating sex? And does the code make it an offence to be gay or lesbian in the province, as many media outlets have suggested? Hendri Yulius takes a close look at the Qanun Jinayat.
A gay web series last week provoked the ire of at least one lawmaker, who called for it to be blocked and its makers dealt with in the courts. As Hendri Yulius writes, the episode was just another example of the government’s double standard in its approach to issues of sexuality.
The US Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality has provoked strong reactions in Indonesia. As Hendri Yulius writes, the response to one pop star’s support for the decision helps to explain what it means to be Indonesian.