The 12 trans women who were detained in the Indonesian province of Aceh have been released from police detention.
But there was a catch to their release. The women had to agree to keep their hair short, dress and behave like men.
Aceh police detained the women on Saturday night after raiding after five hair salons where the women worked.
Before being put into custody police forcibly cut their hair short. They were also made to change into men’s clothes in front of members of the public.
At the time of their detention local Police Chief Ahmad Untung Surianata said the women would be coached to behave like men again before they would be allowed to be released.
‘The expression of men dressed like women needs serious attention,’ he said at the time.
‘Officers also nurtured them by way of having them run for some time and telling them to chant loudly until their male voices came out.’
The 12 transgender women were arrested while at work in beauty salons, in Indonesia’s sharia-ruled province of Aceh, on Sunday.
Released on certain conditions.
Untung told media the women would be allowed to return to their work at the hair salons, so long as they still dressed as men.
‘We helped them to return to their nature as men and it turned out that they were actually macho,’ he told news.com.au.
‘They are happy now because before they were lost in their false identity.’
Aceh is a conservative Muslim province, which is the only one in Indonesia that is allowed to follow Islamic Sharia Law. Homosexuality is illegal in Aceh, but not the rest of Indonesia.
The province has recently targeted the LGBTI community including caning two men convicted of homosexuality and detaining trans women in December after the attended a birthday party.
A fundraising effort has been set up to donate money to help the women leave Aceh.
Anyone interested in helping, should email this journalist for information: [email protected]