We, from Jaringan Rakyat Bhinneka/JRB (People Union in Diversity) on Thursday, 22th February 2018, rent a booth at ARUPS 6th Congress (ASEAN Regional Union of Psychological Societies) distributing booklet titled “Moving Beyond Stigma: Reducing Prejudice and Preventing Discrimination in Mental Health Standard” at the Discovery Kartika Plaza Hotel, Kuta, Bali held by HIMPSI (Indonesian Psychologists Association) for three days on 20-22 February 2018 and we rent a booth as our information center for two days on 21-22 February 2018.
According to the initial agreement on the first day, our booth will be located next to the front door and registration desk of the venue. However, on the second day, at 8:48, we received a message from the committee that our booth is relocated to a reclusive space near the toilet. Therefore, we decided to walk around to distribute our booklet and inform the participants about our booth location.
On the third day at 6:09, we received a warning message from the committee to stop distributing our publication temporarily and banned one of our members to attend the conference due to his/her gender expression. We mediated with the the committee to keep our booth open. At 11:00, on our first mediation we met with the committee and they argue that the gender and sexual minority issue is a sensitive/political issues hence the exclusion. Another argument was that some participants felt uncomfortable with his/her appereance. We agreed to not distributing our booklet to the participants nor inviting people to our booth.
At 13:00 on our second negotiation, we asked to allow our friend to attend the venue. Eventually, our friend were allowed to enter the premise with a condition that he/she is not allowed to enter the main ballroom area and not acting as a “mascot” whom represent our group.
We regret the exclusion act that happened in academic conference that supposedly to be an open space for discussion related to diversity based on humanity values. This exclusion indicated that ARUPS has discriminative attitude towars gender and sexual minorities.
We send our gratitude to the whole committee who are willing to had dialog with us. We encourage professional psychologists in Indonesia, and in ASEAN in wider context, to be more open on social stigma and discrimination discussions towards vulnerable groups, including gender and sexual minorities.
Jaringan Rakyat Bhinneka (People Union on Diversity)
22 February 2018