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Indonesian minister’s doorless dormitories proposal sparks outrage

An Indonesian minister’s suggestion that doors should be removed from college dormitories to prevent promiscuity has been greeted with outrage and befuddlement.

The social affairs minister, Khofifah Indar Parawansa, said she was inspired by her visit to the doorless dormitories of a “very prestigious” university, where the activities of students in their rooms can be monitored. “There are no more worries about the possibility of contact between men and men, and women and women,” Parawansa said. “I have seen how effective this is, and I think it can be made a role model.” Parawansa did not disclose the name of the university she visited.

“Such a plan, if true, obviously does not make sense,” said Bonar Tigor Naipospos, deputy chairman of Setara Institute, a Jakarta-based NGO that advocates democracy and peace.

A door represents the individual need for privacy, Naipospos said. “Yet the state, for reasons of morality, wants to smash through that door and make the behaviour and consciousness of individuals uniform.” Dian Najean Lestari, a student at Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University in Jakarta, also rejected the minister’s proposal, saying it might encourage theft and bring about other security risks.

The rights of Indonesia’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community have come under “unprecedented attack” from government officials and some members of the public this year, according to the New York-based NGO Human Rights Watch.

A presidential spokesman said in August there was “no room” in the country for an LGBT “mass movement to influence other parties to become like them”.

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