‘Hugs Not Hate’ campaign to tackle homophobia in Southeast Asia

JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post/ANN) - Civil society has initiated a "HugsNotHate campaign to spread positivity.

A cross-border organization for LGBT rights, Asean SOGIE Caucus, has initiated a campaign to commemorate this year’s International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, which falls on May 17.

The #HugsNotHate campaign encourages participants to upload pictures of themselves hugging LGBT friends and uploading them on social media to spread positivity.

“Hugging is the purest act to show friendship. It is scientifically proven that hugging has a positive impact on mental health,” Lini Zurlia, an advocacy officer of AseanSOGIE Caucus, told The Jakarta Post over the phone on Wednesday. “Our campaign wants to show that, instead of hating and hurting each other, we should embrace one another as human beings,” she said.

She added the campaign was in line with the global theme of the international day, which is “Solidarity for Alliance”. “Many LGBT people live in isolation because of the social repression. Hugging is the most straightforward way to show solidarity,” she said.

To join the campaign, participants should upload a picture of themselves hugging LGBT friends on May 17 and write a caption with a positive remark to the LGBT community in the local language. The guidelines issued by Asean SOGIE say the angle of the picture should be arranged to consider the safety of the person getting the hug, if he or she wishes.

“We encourage the use of the local language, because every country has its own ways to express solidarity,” Lini said. The picture should contain the hashtag #HugsNotHate and #HijrahMenujuCinta (Move to Love), which is the Indonesian campaign slogan. Participants also can tag the NGO’s social media (@ASEANSOGIE) or Facebook profile (@aseansogie).

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