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WhatsApp removed the GIFs and the whole ordeal ended without the country's 39 million WhatsApp users loosing access to the service. Noor told VICE that the ministry had already secured the support of all national telecom providers to block any "negative" content the ministry finds. In terms of apps, we will follow up with Google. While homosexuality is not illegal in Indonesia, it's no secret that the country has become a hostile place for the LGBTQ community.

Usman Hamid, the executive director of Amnesty International Indonesia, said that the banning of LGBTQ-friendly apps and websites indicates deep-rooted homophobia in the Indonesian government. He said that the ban violates the law, since such a ban should have been decided by the court. Conservative groups learned back in the presidential election that there was political ground to be won by focusing on sensitive issues like race and religion, Usman told VICE.

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In the years that followed, these same groups continued to push the narrative to win votes. We have to be aware of how politicians use conservative waves and intolerance. At the moment, the House of Representatives are still discussing the revision of an article in the Criminal Code that could potentially further restrict the freedom and rights of the LGBTQ community.

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Ayunda, a year-old lesbian, explained that an important reason for using dating apps is to find new friends and meet like-minded people from different places. Emilio uses dating apps to feel more connected to the LGBT world.

What is the best online dating app in Indonesia? - Quora

And, as Hendri Yulius notes, these benefits are especially valuable for LGBT Indonesians who are not out or who cannot afford to visit other spaces where they might find kindred spirits. There are many advantages to using dating apps, including privacy. Screenshot via Grindr. Friendship is not guaranteed, though, as a lot of people post fake photos and make up false profiles.

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They are looking for sex. Sometimes people post that they have a serious partner to try and fool people into connecting with them because sex is then considered off the table.

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They are looking for sex too. But as soon as Liyanti responds to someone who writes this, they ask him if he is a top or a bottom. Such encounters can ironically lead to a sense of frustration with the LGBT world.

Indonesians use dating apps for more than just seeking friendship and sex. Before the ban, Liyanti used Grindr to promote his business. He has many fashionista friends and they find it easy to buy his designs through apps.

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Liyanti and others wishing to promote their products add a message on their profile or status encouraging viewers to contact them via other apps such as WhatsApp or Facebook if they are interested in their product. A further use of dating apps is the promotion of safer sex. There are a number of ways people promote HIV and sexual health awareness through dating apps.

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App users can put a notice on their status telling people to private message them if they are interested in knowing more about HIV, for example. Some dating apps also allow people to introduce third parties to each other and these connections can be used to spread information about sexual health. The potential for dating apps to be used to connect LGBT individuals across Indonesia and to disseminate sexual health material is of key importance at the present time as Indonesia is undergoing unprecedented levels of LGBT harassment and persecution.

It would be a tragedy indeed if the government and religious bodies continue to censor online dating apps. Dina Listiorini dinalisty gmail.