Indonesian police cut transgender women’s hair, train them to act like men

Police in Indonesia’s Aceh province on Sunday rounded up transgender women working in various beauty salons, cut their hair, made them wear men’s clothes and taught them how to walk and talk like men.

Angry locals tried to attack the transgender women as they were led into a police station for violating Aceh’s religious laws. Although homosexuality and gay sex are legal everywhere in Indonesia, Aceh sticks to Islamic law. The police crackdown came following complaints of teasing from boys who visited the saloons.

Local police chief, Ahmad Untung Surianata, told AFP they had received complaints from parents that transgender employees harassed their children during salon visits.

Surianata said the number of transgender women was rising in Aceh and he did not want such incidents to happen again.

To make the detained transgender women behave, a few days of counselling and coaching have been arranged for them. It is already showing results and some are acting like men, he said, adding that Muslim clerics will give them moral lessons.

Surianata said the aim of the training programme is to change the mentality of transgender women so they can be better people.

Amnesty International condemned the humiliating and inhuman treatment meted out to transgender community.

This month, a Christian man was publicly flogged for selling alcohol in Aceh. Flogging is a common punishment under Aceh’s religious law. Local police also shave the heads of those accused of anti-social behaviour.