Interview: Indonesians are gay-friendly if not brainwashed

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12/27/2018

Dede Oetomo is the founder and trustee of the Indonesian LGBT advocacy group GAYa Nusantara Foundation, based in Surabaya. “Indonesia has always been conservative and it has gotten better in some ways. Before 1998 the conservative Muslim clerics that are against LGBTI people would be in jail or seeking asylum. Now there is no limit to what people can say. There is a massive gap between the rich and the poor and a lot of people in the middle classes in Java are unemployed and have a grudge. They flock around these hard-line preachers who offer them hope. We know that these preachers, regardless of whether they are Islamic or Christian, have always rejected gays. But they have become more vocal,” notes Oetomo.

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