Activists and fans have slammed authorities after a transgender woman was arrested and placed in a male prison despite being identified as a woman.
Instagram influencer Millen Cyrus was arrested Monday on suspicion of drug use and put behind bars in a men’s detention center.
Millen, a 21-year-old model who has about a million followers on social media, was detained by police along with a friend after a drug raid at a hotel in the port of Tanjung Priok in North Jakarta, Indonesia.
The decision to put her in a men’s prison sparked a public reaction from the trans community, accusing officials of a lack of sensitivity.
Millen himself told reporters, “I hope there is a way for me … not to be put in a men’s cell”
Police chief Ahrie Sonta told local newspaper Detik, “Millen was placed in a cell based on the gender on her citizen’s ID card, and it says male.”
The decision was quickly condemned by the country’s human rights commission, as it is not the first time that a trans woman has been held in a men’s prison.
Millen, previously known as her birth name Muhammad Millendaru Prakasa, sparked renewed anger in the LGTBQ + community over alleged transphobia.
Anggun Pradesha, a trans rights activist from Jakarta, told South China Morning Post, “ Our country justifies a man as someone with a penis and a woman as someone with a vagina, even though in many cases people with a penis identify as someone with a penis. woman and vice versa.
“The state should accommodate them [gender non-conformers].
“If a trans woman gets caught up in legal proceedings, I personally think she should be held in a women’s cell, and I think the other women in the cell wouldn’t be against this.
“Placing Millen in a male cell is a big mistake and a sign of the police’s insensitivity to gender diversity.”
Millen has long been the target of transphobia, including from her aunt, who live-streamed an attack on Instagram, where she pulled her false eyelashes off her face.
Activists feared Millen would be attacked if she was held in a men’s prison, and urged authorities to move her.
The National Commission on Violence Against Women added that holding Millen along with men puts her at risk of sexual abuse and harassment.
Police have since admitted and opted to place the influencer in a solo cell while she awaits charges.
A spokesman for the authorities said: “She will be alone, not with a man or a woman [detainees] because we put her in a special cell so that there is no controversy.
“This decision was made by the police.”