Indonesian Muslim Feminist Agendas toward Recognition of Gay and Lesbian Rights

asian-gayThe Muslim feminists in Indonesia have an important position among the efforts to uphold gay/ lesbian rights. Nowadays, some groups such as GAYa Nusantara, Koalisi Pelangi, and Koalisi Perempuan Indonesia, who promotes gay rights in Indonesia focus on the internal empowerment among gay communities and still abandon the problem of theology and religion. It is hard for the “secular groups” to deal with the controversial issue of homosexuality in the country in where Islamic religious belief plays the significant roles for the society.

The Muslim feminists are needed to observe the Islamic theological context as a theological foundation of homosexual recognition. This is important under two reasons. Firstly, the majority of Indonesians are Muslims which their religiosity has huge influence to Indonesian life. Secondly, theological reason which strictly prohibits homosexual as we can see from the textual interpretation toward some verses of the Koran on homosexuality is one of the biggest difficulties to recognize gay rights.

To observe the theological context, we have to understand the socio-cultural situations when the verses were revealed. In this regard, the restriction to mimic the previous traditions of Greek and the influence of the patriarchal Arabic society colored the establishment of the stereotypical verses and the early Muslim interpretations that surround Muslim’s views in Indonesia.

While the Greek society was very permissive to same-sex relationship, Islam prohibited its early believers to imitate that custom and strongly encourage them to develop their own sexual identity. Meanwhile, the patriarchal Arabic tradition that encouraged the superiority of masculinity influenced the early Islamic view on gender and sexuality and its importance in the development of the early Muslim society that needed masculinity values for the jihad.

Under this view, it is important to begin the recognition of homosexual rights in Indonesia by observing the theological context and reinterpreting the verses of the Koran. Therefore, contemporary Indonesian Muslim feminists have very crucial position toward these efforts.

Created by MUTTAQIN Farid

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