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Indonesia is banning gay emojis

Because two little gay men holding hands is not okay

In the latest affront to tiny gay emoji men and women everywhere, Indonesia has banned apps featuring same-sex couples. The news comes just months after the authorities in Russia moved to ban gay emojis, although they subsequently backtracked on their decision after officials decided that the emoji people pictured might like, just be friends and not actually fucking. Because teeny-tiny imaginary people can have complicated personal lives too. 

Mashable reports that the Indonesian government has asked messaging apps to remove emojis featuring same-sex couples. The move comes after a backlash in the culturally conservative country against the popular messaging app Line, which included same-sex couples in its online store. Line is not commonly used in the UK, but is one of the major messaging apps in Indonesia, where it has 30 million users – making it basically the equivalent of our WhatsApp. 

The Jakarta Post reports that official government spokesperson Ismail Cawidu made a statement on Thursday saying that social media platforms needed to drop emojis expressing support for the LGBT community. Line, for its part, has agreed to filter out LGBT content (meaning gay emojis) within Indonesia, although they’ll remain on the messaging app outside the country. 

Before you feel sorry for the tiny emoji boys and girls who’re about to get culled, spare a thought for the actual plight of LGBT people in Indonesia. A strict Muslim country, gay sex is not technically illegal in Indonesia, although certain provinces apply Islamic punishments for homosexuality. Those caught having gay sex in the province of Aceh, for example, can be punished by being whipped up to 100 times. So while it's bad times for the same-sex emoji couples of Indonesia, things are probably worse for the many gay people living in the country today.