Jakarta is the capital of Indonesia and one of Southeast Asia’s most sprawling metropolises. It is a huge city filled with everything a traveler could want, from beautiful architecture to mouthwatering food, a buzzing nightlife, a diverse and friendly people, and a dizzying amount of shops, markets, and malls. While most visitors to Indonesia skip straight to the beaches and hedonism of Bali, it is worth taking some time to discover the city in order to better understand the country and its people.
That said, Jakarta does not have much to offer specifically to gay tourists, especially when compared to other large Asian cities. Indonesia is a conservative Muslim country whose attitude to homosexuality has only gotten worse in the past couple of years. In 2017, authorities raided and shut down most of Jakarta’s gay clubs, bars, and saunas, leaving the city’s large LGBT community to find alternative spaces to meet and socialize. Now, the gay Jakarta scene still exists but is mostly underground, so it can be difficult to find for visitors.
While this is a shame, it should not put off gay tourists from discovering this wonderful city. Jakarta has much to offer, especially when it comes to food, drink, and entertainment, so we can promise you’ll never be bored.
Indonesia is one of the most populated Muslim communities in the world, and historically this religious sentiment has been used to silence any discussion on LGBT rights. However, since the U.S.A legalized same-sex marriage across the board in 2015, this matter has been brought to the forefront of public discussion. While some groups campaigns for LGBT rights in the country, the government has taken a strong anti-gay stance.
Recent attacks by homophobic groups, both verbal and physical, have led to a more hostile environment for gay people throughout the country. Furthermore, a series of raids by the authorities in 2017 led to the closure of most of the city’s gay spaces. Any LGBT apps have been removed from the Indonesian Play Store, and there is generally a concerted effort to prevent gay people from getting together.
In legal terms, homosexual activity is not illegal, but there is no protection for LGBT people from hate crimes and discrimination. It is illegal to show homosexuality in the media, and no political party in the country openly supports the LGBT movement. As the capital, Jakarta may be slightly more tolerant than the country’s rural communities, but it is still very much not advised for gay visitors to engage in any sort of public display of affection.
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