Indonesian Officials are Arresting Trans Women, Calling Them “Sissy Garbage”

A series of targeted raids on beauty salons in Indonesia’s Aceh province have been pulled into the spotlight after evidence of police brutality.

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Last Saturday, both Indonesian police and Sharia police, who are qualified to make arrests based on deviations from Islamic law, dragged groups of transgender women out of a group of hair salons in the North Aceh district to publicly cut their hair and shame them into using “male” voices.

North Aceh Police Chief Untung Sangaji addressed onlookers, saying: “Our ulama [Muslim scholars] disagree with this disease. [This disease] is spreading. It’s inhumane to tolerate this sissy garbage.”

Because Aceh is one of 34 Indonesian provinces that can use Muslim law to make discriminatory arrests, the women must stand trial for being transgender. These arrests follow last year’s public caning of two gay men, also in the Aceh province. There have also been several anti-LGBTQ+ protests in Aceh in recent months.

Human Rights Watch is closely following and reporting on the situation in Aceh. They hope to convince Indonesia’s National Police Commission to investigate the incident further and command the release of these women.

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