Indonesia warns messaging apps to drop same-sex emoticons

thejakartapost.com | Jakarta | Thu, February 11, 2016 | 10:03 pm

Members of the Indonesian LGBT community display a banner stating that homosexuality is not a mental illness. (Tempo)

Indonesia’s government has demanded that instant messaging apps remove stickers featuring same-sex couples, in the latest high-profile attempt to discourage visible homosexuality in the socially conservative country.

The government move comes after a social media backlash against the popular smartphone messaging app Line for having stickers with gay themes in its online store.

Information and Communication Ministry spokesman Ismail Cawidu said Thursday that social media and messaging platforms should drop stickers expressing support for the LGBT community, a common abbreviation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.

Homosexuality is not illegal in Indonesia, but remains a sensitive issue in the Muslim-majority nation. At the same time, most of Indonesian society, which follows a moderate form of Islam, is tolerant, with gay and transsexual entertainers often appearing on television shows.