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Nine trans women arrested in Indonesia for cross-dressing

Nine trans women arrested in Indonesia for cross-dressing

Aceh is the only province in Indonesia that has Sharia law.

Nine transgender women have been arrested for cross-dressing in Indonesia’s Islamic Aceh province, according to the state-owned Antara news agency.

Some of the women were detained in the beauty salons where they work in the city of Meulaboh, after they were reported by local residents who suspected them of prostitution. Others were picked up at a contraceptive store.

‘They, these transgenders, were caught for violating Islamic Sharia law, but they are not violating Qanun Aceh (local bylaw),’ head of West Aceh Sharia police Ika Suhannas said on Monday (21 September).

‘After we caught them and checked their identity, we allowed them to return to their hometowns.’

No evidence of sex work was found.

Cross-dressing is not illegal in Indonesia and some public tolerance is given to transgender people working in beauty salons. However, there are no laws protecting transgender people from discrimination or harassment.

Aceh is the only province in the Muslim-majority country that has Sharia law and gay sex is punishable there by up to 100 lashes and up to 100 months in prison.

Police warned the women to start dressing in men’s clothing and stop working in beauty salons.

‘Their activities caused public unrest because they hung out until midnight wearing female outfits even when they’re male. These activities caused public unrest and residents told us to take action,’ Suhannas said.

h/t: Rappler