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Trans Woman Gets Detained In Male Cell, Sparking Outrage Among Activists In Indonesia

Mark Andrew

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  • Indonesian human rights and LGBT advocates have expressed opposition about the detention of trans woman Millen Cyrus in a male cell.
  • The Instagram influencer was arrested for drug use and was assigned to the cell based on the gender on her ID, a police official defended.

Instagram influencer Millen Cyrus recently got arrested in North Jakarta, Indonesia on drug charges. 21-year-old Cyrus and a friend was caught by authorities during a raid in a hotel in Tanjung Priok Port for abuse of illegal substances.

Eventually, the trans woman was placed in a male cell and the said decision has since been slammed by activists and members of the LGBT community, pointing out that Cyrus may be prone to harassment and abuse in the detention facility.

In an interview with local media outlet Detik, Ahrie Sonta, chief of Tanjung Priok Port Police defended:

“[Millen was] placed in a cell according to the sex written on her citizens identity card, and it says male.”

Police station drugs unit chief Reza Rahandi also added that Millen only shares a cell with another male detainee.

This, however, was not enough to pacify those clamoring for better treatment for transgender inmates.

As activist Anggun Pradesha pointed out:

“Our country justifies a man as somebody with a penis, and a woman as somebody with a vagina, even though in many cases those with a penis identify as a woman and vice versa. The state should accommodate those [gender non-conformers]… Placing Millen in a men’s detention cell is a big mistake and a sign of insensitivity from the police to gender diversity.”

Meanwhile, Commissioner Beka Ulung Hapsara of the Human Rights Commission posted on Twitter:

“I have contacted the National Police Law Division, who has promised to forward our request to Tanjung Priok police chief to move [Millen] to a women’s cell.”

The said request was later granted as Cyrus was transferred to a special cell, alone.

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