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‘I stopped being gay’: how one man saved himself from Indonesia’s homophobia

Written by gaytourism

Zulfikar Fahd wants to raise awareness of how bad things are for LGBTI people in Indonesia. | Photo: YouTube

A man who gave up a lucrative career to seek asylum in Canada, said moving away from Indonesia stopped him ‘being gay’.

Zulfikar Fahd, 30, worked for years in public relations and his career was going great.

But as a gay Indonesian man he felt increasingly oppressed as the country’s persecution of the LGBTI community escalated. 

‘Indonesia is a civilization that’s going backwards. We used to be okay with transgender comedians on TV (some of them were very famous), now the government banned every LGBT-related show,’ Fahd told Gay Star News.

Aceh became a Islamic province, practicing barbaric and primitive law, and no one dares speak up about it because the whole country is run by Muslim supremacist.’

His story of escaping to Canada went viral and he suddenly had hundreds of LGBTI Indonesians reaching out to him.

For the first time in his live Fahd, ‘stopped being gay’.

‘By fleeing to Canada earlier this year, I decided to “stop” being gay and start being a “normal” person… who lives amongst those who give no second thought to sexual orientation,’ he said.

‘I decided to give up my family and friends whom I love dearly, and a bright promising career I’d built for years. I’d given up on my country too, simply because I didn’t want to give up on

Close up photo of Zulfikar smiling and wearing sunglasses

Zulfikar Fahd has applied for asylum in Canada after fleeing Indonesia’s LGBTI persecution. | Photo: Facebook 

So I Stopped Being gay

After he saw the impact of his story, Fahd decided he had to share even more about himself. He had to tell the world about the horrors facing LGBTI people in Indonesia.

So he’s laying his story bare in a new book. He plans to call it, ‘So I Stopped Being Gay (A Story of Giving Up by a Queer Muslim Indonesian)’.

In the book Fahd will share some very personal stories. They even include his first experiences with oral sex and going to a sex club.

Fahd plans to share the harrowing ordeal of being taken to a psychiatrist by his mom, and all the times his dad called him a faggot.

But his intention is not to be lewd or sensational. Fahd will tie all of his stories back into the state of affairs for LGBTI people in Indonesia.

‘The stories are very personal, yes, but they’re actually just a hook to the star of the book: the suffering of LGBTQI+ community in Indonesia,’ he said.

‘When talking about how my parents reacted to my queerness, I’d link the story to how most Indonesian parents culturally & religiously worship masculinity; and that affects poorly to “feminine” boys like me.

‘When telling the story about dating an engaged “straight” man, I’d link it to the trend in Indonesia that many “straight” married men actually have boyfriends behind their clueless (and usually naive) wives.’

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Speaking for the voiceless

For Fahd writing this book will bring attention to what is happening in Indonesia and hopefully effect change.

He also wants to speak up for the many LGBTI people who do not have the power to do so.

‘The LGBT issue in Indonesia is a crucial subject to talk about. Why? Because it’s not illegal to be queer in that country… however, the government, authorities and society in general have been treating us like criminals,’ he said.

‘That’s totally unjust, and not many people speak up about it. It’s hard to pass the mic for the voiceless when they still live under such agony, but I’m lucky to have the opportunity and platform to be their loudspeaker.’

So I Stopped Being Gay is a not for profit driven agenda for Fahd. Any money the book makes will go directly to ‘an underground LGBTQI+ organization in an Indonesia city’.

‘The non-profit organization (managed by six people) has been providing a free shelter for 28 queer teenagers (perhaps more in the future) who were kicked out of the house by their families,’ he said.

‘They need money to keep the shelter safe and feed their guests. They request a full confidentiality due to security reasons, obviously.’

Fahd is relying on public support to fund the publishing of his book. He hopes people will get behind it because they want to help Indonesia’s LGBTI community.

‘I’d love to encourage people who share the same concern on LGBT rights to pre-order my book, so together we can show the world the real face of queer people’s struggles in Indonesia,’ he said.

You can donate to the crowdfunding campaign here.

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