Some countries have zero to no tolerance for different sexual orientations. That happens to be the case in Indonesia, where two men in Aceh province were used as an example to straighten the rest of the society.
The two men have faced the gruesome punishment by being caned dozens of times for consensual gay sex. The punishment, which was conducted in public, has been denounced by rights advocates on the grounds of being a medieval torture technique.
The rights advocates also said that the public punishment was capable of escalating an anti-gay backlash. The courtyard of one of the mosques was packed with hundreds who showed up to witness the caning on Tuesday.
The public canning was the first of its kind in Aceh. The province had never caned people for homosexuality. Aceh is the only province in Indonesia that practices Shariah law.
The two men are aged 20 and 23. They were arrested in March after vigilantes broke into their rented room to catch them having sex.
The men were sentenced by a Shariah court last week to 85 strokes. Heterosexual couples also were caned Tuesday, for affection outside marriage.
The past year has seen Indonesia’s LGBT community under siege. Bias has been fanned by forcefully anti-gay comments from politicians and Islamic hard-liners.
The men were canned with a rattan cane after they were convicted of adultery. Indonesian police detained dozens of men Sunday, May 21 in a weekend raid on a gay sauna in the capital Jakarta. The world’s most populous Muslim nation has seen another sign of growing hostility to homosexuality.