May 3, 2016 at 8:42 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Campaign seeks to raise money for Indonesian LGBT group

Indonesia, gay news, Washington Blade

Indonesian police crack down on LGBT rights advocates. (Photo courtesy of Arus Pelangi)

A new campaign that began on Tuesday seeks to raise money for an Indonesian LGBT advocacy group.

Alturi, a Los Angeles-based organization that seeks to promote further engagement on global LGBT issues, on Wednesday announced the campaign in support of Arus Pelangi.

The campaign seeks to raise $25,000 to fund Arus Pelangi’s emergency assistance program — which includes a safe house for LGBT rights advocates in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta — through the end of the year. The money would also help the organization sustain its “You Are Not Alone” campaign, hotline and other initiatives across the country.

Alturi said in a press release that Arus Pelangi’s emergency assistance program will run out of money at the end of this month.

OutRight Action International and Human Rights Watch have also joined the fundraising campaign.

“Arus Pelangi has provided a critically important voice for the LGBTI community in Indonesia for more than 10 years,” said Steve Roth, co-founder of Alturi, in the press release.

Anti-LGBT rhetoric has ‘real-life consequences’

Alturi announced its campaign in support of Arus Pelangi against the backdrop of efforts to crackdown on LGBT rights advocates in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country.

An Indonesian House of Representatives commission in March urged the country’s Ministry of Communications and Information to consider a measure that would block websites from promoting so-called LGBT propaganda. Those found guilty of consensual same-sex sexual relations in the semi-autonomous province of Aceh face up to 100 lashes in public under a new penal code based on Sharia law that took effect late last year.

Indonesian LGBT rights advocates in recent months have also expressed growing concern over an increase in homophobic and transphobic rhetoric on the part of political and religious readers.

“The messages of intolerance by several senior officials have had real-life consequences for members of Indonesia’s LGBTI community,” said U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power in March during a speech she delivered at the annual Human Rights Campaign Equality Convention in D.C.

Arus Pelangi Chair Yuli Rusinawati, who founded the organization in 2006, told the Blade on Tuesday from Indonesia that she welcomes the campaign.

“We greatly appreciate the support from the international community, which will enable us to keep pushing forward with our work on multiple fronts,” said Rusinawati in the Alturi press release.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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