Indonesian University Censors Lesbian Love Story

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03/26/2019

A student news website in Indonesia that published a story about a woman expressing her love for another young woman was ordered by university officials to shut down its entire news operation after the story went viral. North Sumatra University (USU), a public university in Medan, North Sumatra province, gave the 18 students who write for and publish Suara USU (USU News) just 48 hours to shut down and vacate the newsroom. The 1,000-word fictional story, “Semua Menolak Kehadiran Diriku di Dekatnya” (Everyone Refuses My Presence Near Her), was published on Suara USU’s website on March 12 and promoted on their Instagram account on March 18. Publisher Yael Stefany Sinaga, who is also the story’s author, said that USU President Runtung Sitepu summoned website members to his office on March 25, declaring that the short story contains “pornography” and promoted homosexuality. Sitepu claimed it contradicted the campus’ values and demanded the story be removed from the website.

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