The year-old man's shocking death is a sign of an out-of-control but little acknowledged epidemic of HIV among gay men in Indonesia that researchers say is now being fueled by a gay hate climate whipped up by the country's conservative political and religious leaders. After the young man died in February at a Yogyakarta shelter, no one from his immediate family took the body, said Sandeep Nanwani, a doctor and HIV outreach worker. The previous year, Nanwani had helped raise funds to move him from Jakarta, the capital, where he'd lost his job due to his deteriorating health. They didn't want anything to do with him," said Nanwani. And then he started skipping his medications. According to the United Nations, human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, affects more than a quarter of Indonesian men who have sex with men, a dramatic increase from 5 percent in
The Ministry of Communications said Feb. Instagram, however, said it had not removed the account. A spokeswoman said there were a number of reasons an account may no longer be accessible including the account holder deleting it, deactivating it or changing the username. The comics depicted gay characters facing discrimination and abuse, which has become increasingly common in Indonesia since late when conservative politicians and religious leaders began a campaign of portraying lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people as a threat to the nation. Some Indonesian netizens in turn congratulated the ministry.
Freedom of expression, sexuality and gay rights are long-debated themes in Indonesia. The debate sparked again, this time in early February , when the government announced that same-sex emojis, stickers and emoticons should be withdrawn from use — including instant messaging Apps and social media such as LINE, WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter. Such emoticons would include for instance, same-sex couples holding hands or same-sex faces with small hearts between them, which, according to the government, are capable of hurting Muslim sensibilities, and causing civil unrest. Is this a typical policy-making decision in a Muslim state? Rather not.
The Indonesian government announced this week that it wants messaging apps to remove same-sex emojis from their systems if the apps are going to be used in the Muslim-majority country. Emojis, also called stickers, allow cellphone users to communicate with small cartoons. The emojis the government has a problem with include those with two men or two women with a heart or child between them. At least one messaging service, LINE, already adhered to the request. Although it is not illegal to be gay in Muslim-majority Indonesia, discussions of sexuality remain touchy.