Since 2010, RFSL has been collaborating with Arus Pelangi, a federation of LGBTQ organisations in Indonesia.
Arus Pelangi has 12 membership organisations and operations in 8 of Indonesia’s 34 regions, offering legal support to LGBTQ people and informing and educating about LGBTQ civil rights issues. They also work towards reforming Indonesian politics through campaigns and lobbying. Arus Pelangi collaborates with two local LGBTQ organisations within the project – People Like Us Satu Hati (PLUSH), based in Yogyakarta, and Komunitas Sehati Makassar (KSM), based in Makassar.
Although it is not illegal to be LGBTQ according to national law, the Indonesian legal system does not recognise or support LGBTQ civil rights and there are no anti-discrimination laws on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity. However, there are some local regulations that criminalise non-normative gender identities and sexualities. Police and authorities often neglect to protect LGBTQ people from attacks, transgender people particularly experience a lot of discrimination, with great difficulties in employment, accommodation and identity documents, especially for the group of “warias”, trans women.
Through the project, which is supported by Forum Syd, the organisations aim to increase the acceptance of LGBTQ people in Indonesia and, in recent years, has focused on the authorities, religious leaders and politicians recognising LGBTQ human rights.
Another important aspect of the project is the organisational development within the organisations, working on democratic decision-making processes and proper reporting of projects and finances. Over the course of this project, the capacity of the organisations has increased substantially and Arus Pelangi is an important actor in the entire Southeast Asian region regarding LGBTQ issues and human rights.