Twelve women accused of being lesbians were arrested Saturday in a raid in the Indonesian city of Bogor.
After neighbors reported seeing “immoral activities” in a home in Cigombong, police, community leaders and local residents stormed the residence. Media reports focused on the fact that six of the twelve, all of whom worked in a local garment factory, had short haircuts and dressed “as men.”
“They’re all female,” Cigombong Public Order Agency Chief Sumantrai told Pojokjabar, “But, some play the part as the men and some as the women in the relationship.”
Homosexuality isn’t illegal in most of Indonesia, but anti-gay crackdowns have been increasing throughout the predominantly Muslim country.
In May, police arrested more than 140 men in a sauna in Jakarta men in a hotel in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second largest city, forcing them to take HIV tests and then releasing the results to the public. That same month, 14 gay men were arrested in a hotel room for violating the country’s strict anti-pornography law. They were forced to take HIV tests, the results of which were released to the public.
Aceh, a northern province, adopted sharia law in 2005, criminalizing same-sex relations with jail time and up to 100 lashes. Hundreds turned out earlier this year when two men were publicly caned after being caught in a compromising position.
According to Brilio, the six lesbian couples arrested on Saturday night have agreed to pack up and leave the city as soon as possible. “We’ve given them a ’socialization’ [order] and they said they will move,” said Sumantrai.
The women were previously forced to leave their home in Kutajaya Village in the face of similar discrimination.