In this file photo, transgender people demonstrate in Central Jakarta for an end to the discrimination and violence they face. (Antara Photo/Ismar Patrizki)

Organizers Cancel Malang LGBT Event Over Threats


MAY 17, 2015

Malang, East Java. An event planned to commemorate anti-homophobia day in Malang, East Java, was canceled after the organizers claimed to have received threats.

The event, themed "Celebrate Our Gender," was initially scheduled for Sunday in conjunction with International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, or Idahot.

Niken, one of the organizers of the event, said that she and a colleague started to receive threatening phone calls and text messages on Friday from people claiming to represent universities and several religious organizations in the city.

"Some people called and texted us to ask if we were going to gather people and invite the LGBT community," Niken told the Jakarta Globe on Sunday. "Some questioned our permit while others opposed the celebration outright."

One caller threatened to "forcefully dissolve" the event should organizers press forward with the celebration.

Niken and her team decided to report the threats to the police and obtain a permit, which they initially had not planned on applying for "because the event was going to be held indoors."

"We expected no more than 20 people to attend," Niken added.

Police suggested that they cancel "Celebrate Our Gender" due to security reasons.

"The content of the discussion is debatable, it doesn't fall into the category of an academic seminar," local police official Teguh Priyo Wasono said on Sunday, without actually addressing the police's responsibility for ensuring the security of law-abiding residents or going after those making the threats.