According to Human Rights Watch, Indonesia’s queer panic began in January 2016, when several prominent politicians, including the vice-president, issued strong anti-LGBT statements. They were reacting to queer student activism at the University of Indonesia but the discourse rapidly took on a life of its own. Indonesians went to the polls to elect a new president today. Neither the incumbent, Joko Widodo, nor his opponent has a significant track record of supporting LGBT rights. Queer activists have been at the forefront of the voter abstention movement. Early counting suggests Widodo will serve another five years in office.
Many LGBT people will have mixed feelings at the sight of police patrolling outside the Stonewall Inn in New York. The community has a fraught relationship with law enforcement; for years, the police were the strong arm of a homophobic and transphobic society, harassing, beating and imprisoning us at the behest of a ‘moral majority’. For some of us – especially sex workers, trans people, queer Muslims and queers of colour, that relationship continues. In June 1969, trans and gay regulars fought back during a routine police raid on the Stonewall, leading to days of anti-cop riots. The police are currently posted outside the now-gentrified bar following Saturday night’s homophobic terrorist attack on a gay club in Orlando, Florida, in which 50 people died.
‘Enlightenment does not produce tolerance; tolerance is the result of boredom,’ Quentin Crisp said in 1968, when asked about changing social attitudes towards homosexuals. ‘The facts have to be repeated over and over and over, and in the end people say: "All right, so you’re queer. Just talk about something else." And then the work is done.’ It seemed that the moment of peak boredom had come for gay people in Ireland in their fight for equal marriage rights. With a referendum timetabled for early 2015, and the government getting behind the ‘Yes’ campaign following strong recommendations from the Constitutional Convention, gay rights campaigners seem confident, if not complacent, about a change in the law. But they haven’t won yet. Catholic pressure groups are campaigning against gay marriage. The Irish Times commentator John Waters called it ‘a satire’. ‘It’s not that they want to get married,’ he wrote, ‘they want to destroy the institution of marriage because they’re envious of it.’ The drag performer Rory O’Neill said on the Saturday Night Show last month that attitudes such as Waters’s represent a ‘subtle homophobia’.
Tomorrow is the New York gay pride march, but if you weren’t here last night you missed the party. Same-sex marriage has come to the Empire State, the sixth and by far the largest to endorse full equality in what, for better or worse, is now the only gay-rights issue on the agenda in America. The state legislature in Albany – so corrupt and incompetent that the New York Times, a few elections back, told readers to abandon every single member and 'vote for an opponent, any opponent' – tried to pass a similar bill in 2009, and the unexpectedly large defeat that year meant that nobody was celebrating this time until the gavel fell. Two years ago we got no Republican votes; yesterday there were four, and the city erupted. Christine Quinn, the speaker of the City Council and now (following Anthony Weiner's resignation) the probable next mayor of New York, cried during a press conference and announced that she and her girlfriend are planning their wedding. These days the best gay bars in town are in the East Village or Brooklyn, but last night there was only one party worth being at: the mash outside the Stonewall Inn in the West Village,