Association decries police
ban on conference

Organizers of an international conference on gender rights and sexually marginalized groups regretted the ban on the event on Wednesday, saying it was hoping to seek solutions to problems faced by marginalized communities in general.

Poedjiati Tan, who chairs the organizing committee of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Association (ILGA) conference, said the congress was also aiming to discuss challenges faced by women across Asia.

”This is not an exclusive event for gay and lesbian groups, but is open to all people who support the rights of all genders and sexually marginalized groups,” Tan said.

During the congress, scheduled to take place from Wednesday through Friday, a series of discussions on reproductive health and contagious disease prevention were to be held, featuring experts from Indonesia and overseas.

More than 200 delegates representing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual groups from 16 countries across Asia had registered to attend the event, when Surabaya Police announced that the conference could not go ahead on Wednesday, citing it could stir social anxiety.

The local branches of the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) and Muhammadiyah, Indonesia’s second-largest Muslim organization, had objected to the conference.

Previously, ILGA has held conferences in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in 2008, Cebu, the Philippines, in 2005 and Mumbai, India, in 2002.

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