Alarming news today on the Indonesian newspaper The Jakarta Post: Homophobia is on the rise. Over 80% people in Indonesia, in fact, are homophobic according to the latest survey published yesterday by the Indonesian Survey Circle (LSI). The results show a whopping 50% increase since 2005, and further validate the growing social tensions present in Indonesia due to intolerance towards minority groups.
The study, which was conducted for a week on 1,200 people earlier this month, found that prejudice and intolerance towards gays
and lesbians surpasses that against people of different faiths and even that against followers of “deviant sects” such as Shi’ism and Ahmadiyah. In fact, most of the people interviewed would rather live next door to a sect member than have a gay person for a neighbour! Though most intolerance (almost 60%) was found to be present among poorly or low-educated, low-income males, the results show that it is, apparently, still a general problem in Indonesia. An earlier study published by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), in June of this year, further supports this by also confirming the rise of religious intolerance. According to the article, the Indonesian government must improve welfare, as intolerance was mostly shown by “people who are unemployed or poor [since they] can easily be goaded into attacking minority groups”. Empowerment organization LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) says the main obstacles for progress are radical Islamist groups and the media.