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Surabaya’s transwomen combating COVID-19 – New Mandala


Surabaya Transwoman Fighting Covid-19

It tells the story about transwomen in Surabaya fighting Covid-19 together with East Java Regional Disaster Management Agency despite challenges they face regarding their gender.

In Indonesia, the federal government formally acknowledges solely two genders, female and male. Transwomen (together with homosexual and lesbian people) are categorized underneath People with Social Welfare Problem or generally known as Penyandang Masalah Kesejahteraan Sosial (PMKS). This relies on 4 standards, i.e., a) social functioning dysfunction, b) discrimination, c) marginalisation, and d) deviant social behaviour. Despite giving up on the legislative scenario that discriminates in opposition to them, Surabaya transwomen who’re members of Surabaya Transwomen Association (Perwakos) battle in opposition to it by participating actively in public exercise. This is story about them combating Covid-19 along with East Java Regional Disaster Management Agency.


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My engagement with Perwakos began years in the past, throughout an HIV-AIDS marketing campaign exercise after I was nonetheless an undergraduate scholar.  I labored with them once more years later, via Circle Indonesia—an area organisation based mostly in Yogyakarta—on a USAID-funded mission that targeted on scaling-up built-in interventions serving populations most-at-risk to HIV transmission in Indonesia. While engaged on that mission, I additionally wrote my masters thesis about transwomen’s performativity and their house in Surabaya metropolis.

My concern with gender range is based on my lengthy experiences working as gender specialist for growth and humanitarian initiatives for worldwide businesses/organisations. I face a number of rejection when making an attempt to boost the difficulty. Government officers will all the time consult with the abovementioned current formal laws on gender. Further, in every day life a current pattern in Indonesia since sees individuals tending to rejection every little thing associated to LGBT points, together with trans* individuals. The time period LGBT is certainly now infamous now in Indonesia, nearly all the time with adverse connotations. There are additionally a number of persecution of non-binary individuals.

Specifically, relating to catastrophe administration—a problem that I usually interact with—I offered a paper about heteronormative observe of Indonesia catastrophe administration on the 8th Asian Graduate Forum on Southeast Asia Studies at National University of Singapore in 2013. The paper addressed the work of transwomen in Yogyakarta making an attempt to interrupt the stigma by participating in catastrophe response exercise within the aftermath of the 2010 Mt. Merapi eruption.

This video is a part of my efforts to boost considerations about how regulation of gender impacts non-binary people, and the way they battle again in opposition to it.

This publication was supported by an ANU Gender Institute grant which supplied funds for New Mandala and Connecting Designs to run a sequence of workshops supporting early profession teachers investigating problems with gender and sexuality in Southeast Asia to develop their audio-visual analysis communication abilities.

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