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Indonesian Government Forces Instagram to Close Pro-LGBT Account

Nearly 88 per cent of Indonesia's over 260 million people are Muslims and the majority of them are said to be moderates

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The rainbow pride flag of the LGBT community. wikimedia

Popular social network Instagram on Wednesday suspended an account which published comics discussing the problems and acceptance issues faced by the Muslim LGBT community in Indonesia.

The move came after the government asked the social network to remove the gay-friendly account that allegedly published cartoons containing pornographic material and riling many in the country – home to the world’s largest Muslim population.

The Ministry of Information and Communication alleged in a statement that the account, run by a user known only as @Alpantuni, violated the Electronic Information and Transactions Law by distributing content that “breached decency”, according to Efe news.

The Ministry thanked users for their complaints which “accelerated the process” against the handle.

LGBT, Thailand
Thai LGBT community participates in Gay Freedom Day Parade in Bangkok, Thailand. VOA

The comic strips, which showed Muslim gay characters and criticized homophobia and religious fundamentalism in the country, were targeted by a large number of Instagram users, who tagged the Ministry in their comments.

Instagram took the decision after Communication Minister Rudiantara on Monday threatened to shut down the platform in the country unless the company took steps to fulfil the Ministry’s demand.

Homosexuality is legal across Indonesia – except for in Sharia law-ruled Aceh province – and though the LGBT community has yet to meet acceptance, it had been tolerated in the past.

But the Electronic Information and Transactions (EIT) law and the law against pornography have often been used in Indonesia to criminalize homosexuality and the LGBT community, according to non-profit Human Rights Watch.

Edith Windsor
Edie dearly loved the LGBTQ community which loved her right back and held her in reverence for her fight for freedom, equality, and justice. Wikemedia

In February 2018, the government blocked more than 200 mobile applications and websites with content related to homosexuality.

Months later in October, the police arrested two people on the Java Island for running a Facebook page for gays, accusing them of publishing pornography and pressing charges under the EIT law.

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To “safeguard” moral norms on the Internet, the Ministry of Communication has also threatened to shut down other social networks and messaging apps in recent years apart from blocking hundreds of webpages and apps carrying content that promotes homosexuality.

Nearly 88 per cent of Indonesia’s over 260 million people are Muslims and the majority of them are said to be moderates. (IANS)

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LGBT-Identifying Females are at Increased Risk of Substance Use, Claims Study

Early adolescence is a critical period for prevention and intervention efforts

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LGBT, Females, Substance Use
The pattern of increased substance use for youth who identify as sexual minorities is magnified significantly for females. Pixabay

Females who identify as sexual minorities may face an increased risk of substance use that shows up as early as age 13, researchers said.

The pattern of increased substance use for youth who identify as sexual minorities is magnified significantly for females, according to a study published in the Journal of LGBT Youth.

“We saw this striking difference in substance use at age 13 and there was rapid increase in the rate of cigarette and alcohol use over time,” said study lead author Sarah Dermody, Assistant Professor in Oregon State University in the US.

The researchers also noted that early adolescence is a critical period for prevention and intervention efforts.

LGBT, Females, Substance Use
Females who identify as sexual minorities may face an increased risk of substance use. Pixabay

For the study, 2,200 urban girls (heterosexual as well as those identifying as lesbian/gay or bisexual) were studied for substance use from age 13 to 20.

The researchers found that disparities in substance use between heterosexual and sexual minority girls were already present at age 13 and the difference in substance use increased as they entered their 20s.

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“The findings suggest that early prevention and intervention efforts may be needed to reduce initial use and slow the escalation of substance use among the population,” Dermody said. (IANS)