The TL;DR version: it’s not. At least, not yet. Many Indonesian LGBTQs are facing discrimination on a daily basis (both major kinds, like being denied jobs, and minor aggressions). Living a simple, normal life suddenly isn’t so simple in the world’s largest Muslim country.
This wasn’t always the case. Even though being LGBTQ is considered a mental health problem (it’s not), Indonesian LGBTQs used to be more tolerated. Transwomen and crossdresses were welcomed in traditional theaters and performed at local weddings. Some queers even ascended to national stardom, enjoying the life of a superstar. Alas - this is no longer the case.
Perhaps social media has stifled the topic so much, it has lost its nuance and become a polarizing subject to bring up. Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to see queers without social support. Indonesian queers were allowed to have their preferred gender on their national ID card only since 2021.
It takes courage to stand up for who you are. Flaunt your true identity and feel proud of it. Despite the growing intolerance towards LGBTQs people, activists have created safe spaces for them.
In the city of Yogyakarta, Shinta Ratri started an Islamic school for transwomen, noting how religious right is a basic right, and how spirituality is the foundation for self-acceptance. One of Yogyakarta’s icons, Hamzah Sulaeman, established the first drag queen cabaret in the city. It’s now a safe space for transwomen embracing and exploring their fluid expressions.
Same goes for Sanggar Swara, a support group for young transgenders in Jakarta. Supported by a community of writers and artists, Sanggar Swara provides assistance and a platform for young transgenders to share their stories… literally, in writing. You can read about them here (it’s Indonesian, hit translate to read it in English).
Pride month is a celebration of sexual diversity. And the LGBTQs community itself is diverse too. There’s no “single story”, just like there’s no one way to be a sexual or gender minority person.
This year, Gardens of the Sun is delighted to serve young transgenders and queers in Indonesia, and the diversity they bring. Each one is a story worth sharing. Sanggar Swara is striving to create that space. That’s why it’s an easy yes for us to send some love and support to this organization!
How to join us? During the month of June, each purchase of our Pride Rainbow Ring and Pride Earrings, we’ll donate 10% to Transchool by Swara.
Love is love even if it comes in different forms. Let’s celebrate love and diversity, and let’s eradicate discrimation based on who we are or who we love. Even, or perhaps even more so, if you’re on the vanilla side of life.
Opal paired with green garnet and peridot, or with tanzanite and garnet.
Opal is a stone of rainbows. This ancient mineral concoction trapped water within, which refracts light and scatters it into different colors. Believed to be a stone to release anger and reclaim self-worth, this soft gemstone is as gentle as a heart true to itself.