Glad to be gay in Indonesia

Published: September 23, 2010

JAKARTA – A month-long film festival featuring lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) issues will open on Friday in Indonesia, the only such event screened anywhere in the Muslim world. The Q! Film Festival represents one of the largest gay pride festivals in Asia with more than 150 films, fringe events on sexuality and LGBT-themed book launches planned for six cities across this predominantly Muslim country.

Most Indonesian Muslims profess to be moderate and tolerant, but two incidents this year show how the LGBT community continues to come under attack from fundamentalist fringe groups. In March, a planned international LGBT conference in Surabaya, East Java, organized by ILG-Asia, a branch of the International Lesbian and Gay Association, was forced to cancel after coming under attack from the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), a radical group of hardline fundamentalists, and the Indonesian Council of Ulema (MUI), an association of Muslim clerics.

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