It’s getting tough for LGBTI people in Southeast Asia, so they’re hugging it out

The #HugNotHate campaign is on for IDAHOBT 2018. | Photo: Damar Juniarto

As persecution and discrimination against LGBTI people intensifies in Southeast Asia, advocates are now crossing borders to work together for change.

To celebrate this year’s IDAHOTB’s Solidarity for Alliance, LGBTI advocates want to promote positivity through a campaign of hugs.

The #HugNotHate campaign is spearheaded by the ASEAN SOGIE Caucus (Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression).

‘Commitment to solidarity has become more important than ever’ to people in Southeast Asia, according to ASEAN SOGIE Caucus advocacy member, Lini Zurlia.

‘Most of the Asian countries are still criminalize same-sex relationships, so solidarity for alliance is very helpful for us to translate the needs on our movement now,’ she told Gay Star News.

‘Criminalization, shrinking political spaces, direct attacks against LGBTIQ people, murder, abandonment, state-sponsored conversion therapy – the list goes on.’

Zurlia said the two-year campaign against LGBTI people in Indonesia and an ISIS-linked siege in the Philippines where LGBTI were targeted showed ‘that disproportionate rage against us is evident’.


That’s why a campaign like #HugNotHate was an effective, but lovely way to promote solidarity.

People are sharing their photos of them hugging a LGBTI person they know under that hashtag on social media. People in ASEAN countries are also asked to write the hashtag in their local language.

But organizers are also advising people to disguise their LGBTI friends in the photo if their safety needs to be protected.

‘We think the best way to interprate solidarity, allyship, love, kindness is with a HUG,’ Zurlia said.

‘As we may already know that hugging is one of the purest expressions of love and friendship, and we know from the scientific research that hugs such a strong impact on a person’s heart and health.’

Here are some of the cutest photos so far

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