A transgender Instagram star from Indonesia was placed in a men’s jail cell despite identifying as a woman. This misgendering and disregard for her identity and pronouns sparked major outrage.
The Public is furious after the misplacement of Instagram influencer in a men’s detention facility.
The Indonesian star, 21-year old Instagram influencer/model, Millen Cyrus, was arrested with a male friend for alleged drug abuse during a raid on a hotel in North Jakarta. The local official said, “[Milen was] placed in a cell according to the sex written on her citizens identity card, and it says male.”
Millen is very popular in her home country of Indonesia, with a million followers in her Instagram alone.
With such a big number of supporters, the media quickly picked up the news of her arrest, which prompted fans and human rights organizations around the world to slam the decision made by the officials as transphobic and a hazard to Cyrus’ safety.
The rightfully enraged people made sure their voices were heard by the Indonesian authorities, and took to social media to expose the incident.
Jakarta trans rights activist Anggun Pradesha said “Placing Millen in a men’s detention cell is a big mistake and a sign of insensitivity from the police to gender diversity.” Andreas Harsono of Human Rights Watch added that “Most trans women are imprisoned in male prisons, so they experience sexual harassment there.” This poses a clear threat to Millen’s physical and mental wellbeing.
The fans of the social media star were quick to come to Millen’s rescue by demanding that she be moved to an appropriate holding cell.
An indonesian twitter user wrote “This is how transphobic our country is. Now you all wanna say our country is already very accepting? Justice for Millen Cyrus. I hope she’s okay, I’m so worried for her.” A sentiment we share.
this is how transphobic our country is. now yall wanna say our country is already very accepting???? fuck yall. justice for millen cyrus. i hope she’s okay, im so worried for her. https://t.co/y1dCuQ2Mk8
— Ero (@noerotic) November 23, 2020
Another tweet says “Trigger Warning: Transphobia! Hey don’t put Millen Cyrus in a jail cell with MEN. She’s a woman, also why prison, and not rehab?” commenting on how the criminalization of drug use is harmful to the recovery of those who use and/or abuse drugs.
tw // transphobia
hey dont put millen cyrus in a jail cell with MEN. shes a woman also why prison and not rehab tf???
— Jetski (@notperiyuhdt) November 23, 2020
Another person tweeted her support for the influencer, saying: “Millen Cyrus is a woman. Say it with me. Millen Cyrus is a woman”
MILLEN CYRUS IS A WOMAN. SAY IT WITH ME. MILLEN CYRUS IS A WOMAN.
— Air Real (@whitedaemond) November 23, 2020
Thankfully, the outcry was ultimately heard, and news broke that Cyrus was moved to a private cell while awaiting formal charges.
Indonesia doesn’t have discrimination protections in place for the LGBTQ community, and trans people are only allowed to have gender change on official documents if they go through specific hoops that include undergoing gender reassignment surgery, which also needs to be approved by a judge first.