As nearly two dozen rounded up at an underwear party in Jakarta late last month enter their second week in policedetention, media and even other gay men are piling onto the shame train.
Net TV broadcast scenes half naked bewildered guys blinking into fluorescent lights during the raid that happened in the early hours of Sept 30 at a private residence in north Jakarta.
I won’t dignify the “report” by including the video here. Police asserted they had raided a sex party and uncovered ecstasy tablets. Later in the week Instagram gossip account @lambe_turah, with 5.5 million followers, published the names of all those arrested.
While the coverage of this latest raid was overshadowed by harrowing news of the earthquake and the tsunami in Central Sulawesi, the event nevertheless exposed thepenchant for some gay men join in on the public humiliation of LGBT people deemed to be misbehaving.
Once such was @pria_manjahh. The Instagram user posted a comment on the account of the employers of one the accused, saying “one of your staff often participates in drug fueled orgies.”
My boyfriend decided to confront @pria_manjahh, whose handle appears to be an uneasy contrast of the words “man” and an adjective usually used to describe to a spoiled little girl. Judging by the exchange that followed the handle is apt.
The BF: Why did you post that comment?
@pria_manjahh: Is there a problem with you?
The BF: Nope, just asking.
@pria: This is a disaster of their own making.
The BF: Actually you’re making the disaster. They were just at a party. Why can’t you be supportive?
@pria: Why should I support them? They put LGBT people to shame.
The BF: Really? Looks like you’re the one shaming LGBT people.
@pria: Are they your friends?
The BF : Yeah, actually.
@pria: Mind your own business.
Media here loves nothing more than a raid on a gaygathering. Last week’s scene recalled the depraved press conference following last year’s raid of the Atlantis bathhouse, which at the time of the raid was hosting something of a tea dance.
At the debacle of a press conference that followed, police paraded the men in front of the media. Reporters pressed the go-go dancers, who had been performing at the event, to show off their moves for them.
Fast forward to this month the depravity continues. In a head-spinning display of libelous incompetence, @lambe_turah posted a photo that seemed to illustrate its list of the accused. It was only partially accurate because some of those depicted hadn’t even been at the party.
Even so, several accounts popped up solely for the purpose of reproducing images of those arrested. One, @bahamasfemme published a photo of one of the accused and his family at what appeared to be a wedding.
To some extent the vitriol is can be explained as textbook schadenfreude. The guys who were arrested are circuit party types: young, good looking with, shall we say, highly Instagramable bodies. There’s a reason why these guys invited each other to an underwear party, which honestly is kinda creepy. Love my friends as I do, I don’t want to see them in their underwear.
Still, what’s depressing is the effort that the embittered, uninvited and less endowed, went to help derail the lives of those accused.