Jakarta transgender community lies low as intimidation intensifies
The transgender community has been keeping out of sight in the wake of rising intimidation from the unruly Islam Defenders Front (FPI) and the National Police’s reluctance to protect them, activists have said. Merlyn Sofyan, a transgender activist, said on Wednesday that transgender groups across the archipelago had unwillingly cut down their social and educational events during the past two years amid fears that no one would protect them from extremists in the fire-brand group. “Our situation has been relatively stagnant. The police have not been cooperative. They know that the FPI threatens us, but they make only small efforts,” she told The Jakarta Post in a telephone interview. Merlyn, who is also the 2006 Miss Transgender Indonesia, suggested that the crisis might continue following the forceful closure of a cultural transgender festival by the FPI on Monday in Jakarta. The organizer of the Indonesian Transgender Communication Forum said the police, who witnessed the forcible closure, were reluctant to help the 200 or so transgender people when dozens of FPI members stormed their annual festival.