The Impressive Resistance of Indonesia’s Transgender Islamic Studies Center

Two sheets of yellowed paper notify that transgender people have been rejected by jurisprudence [droit musulman] It is displayed on the wall of the main building of Meditation [centre d’études islamiques dans la tradition soufie indonésienne] Transgender opening in Kotagi, the ancient city of Yogyakarta. The letter dated February 9, 2016 sent by the local Islamic Jihad Front (FJI), urges all Muslims to reject any form of legalization LGBT.

on head Meditation This letter left transgender Shinta Ratri and sixty of her students deeply shocked. On February 16, 2016, members FJI The police put seals on this Islamic institution. Forced this accident Meditation To play doom for three months. In an atmosphere of terror, transgender students have sex in secret. Some of them have their hair cut to avoid recognition. They were afraid of being attacked in the street. “It was difficult to persuade them to return to the conquest because they were afraid,” Al-Shinta says.

On November 20, 2021, the message was hung in the middle of a photo gallery commemorating International Day of Remembrance, in memory of transgender people killed around the world because of phobias and hate. “This exhibition documents all the activities of our center to show the public that Fatah has survived a series of discrimination and attacks on freedom of worship,” Al-Shinta explains.

Since 2019, students and teachers of this Meditation Transgender people have sought support from various circles as a strategy to counter hate. They met Cinta Nouria, the wife of former President Abdurrahman Waheed, nicknamed Gus D’Or [le premier président élu démocratiquement en 1999, après la chute de la dictature] As well as a figure from the board of directors of Nahdlatul Ulama [la plus grande organisation musulmane d’Indonésie, de tradition soufie] Kyai Imam Aziz, and other progressive religious leaders. According to Shinta, these meetings had the advantage of dispelling the idea that the transgender community was closed off and did not want dialogue.

The Meditation It also cooperates with Girls Organization, a women’s organization Nahdlatul Ulama, which has sent 36 volunteer teachers since 2019. Khutimat Al-Husna, President of Girls Organization for Yogyakarta Region, regrets the prejudice, hatred and hostility towards transgender people and other different people. “Transsexuals are God’s creatures that take on the task of serving humanity and God’s representatives to bring benefits to our land. Khatimatul states that the love of God is the love of all of his creation and all of his creatures.

Students and scholars from various universities, including Sinan State Kalijaga Islamic University, also come to Meditation To teach students the Arabic alphabet and numbers as well as some short surahs of the Qur’an to memorize. Mr. Arif Noah Sfri, permanent teacher at Meditationis responsible for teaching students to recite Beginning of guidance [L’esprit de l’âme]For the Persian wool Al-Ghazali [11ème siècle]. This book deals with jurisprudence On the gestures of everyday life according to the Sufi tradition. “There is nothing wrong with being transgender. They have the right to worship and study Islam.”Professor confirms.

During every celebration of religious holidays such as Eid al-Adha [jour du Sacrifice]transgender Meditation Mixing with the people of the neighborhood, most of whom are from Muhammadiyah [deuxième plus grande organisation musulmane d’Indonésie, à la fois moderniste et parfois de tendance wahhabite]. They perform the ritual of slaughtering sheep, washing the meat, cooking it and distributing it to neighbors and guests. At the end of Ramadan, they visit the people of the neighborhood, as usual. And when someone dies in the neighborhood, the Shinta attends the funeral. It also participates in the celebrations of the National Day, weddings and departure to perform the Hajj. Cottage residents affectionately greet her as Jeng Tri, short for her birth name: Tri Santoso Nugroho [“Tri” signifie “trois” ou “bon” en javanais. Ce prénom est donné indifféremment à un garçon ou une fille. Par contre Santoso Nugroho est un prénom exclusivement masculin].

Her family, prominent Cottage silver merchants, accepted Shinta as a trans woman since she was a child. This acceptance from his family, especially his very supportive mother, allowed Shinta to freely express his gender identity. Graduated in Biology, she chose to pursue the same profession as her parents before becoming the President of the Yogyakarta Transgender Alliance (IWAYO) will be selected in 2014 to lead weight Al-Fattah after the death of its founder Mariani. Day after day, the Shinta wears the hijab and Muslim clothing.

The Meditation Transgender women settled in their home, west of the Grand Mosque in the Kutagidi royal cemetery, south of the Silver Mosque and three kilometers from the Indonesian Mujahideen Council headquarters. In addition to hosting transgender people who wish to learn about Islam, Shinta provides training in batik, crafts, and networking. These trainings are necessary because most transgender people do not have the opportunity to work in the formal sector. They make a living as street musicians, makeup artists and hairstylists in salons, as well as sales assistants in small grocery stores. Some walk the streets or work as prostitutes in neighborhoods designated for this activity.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic, all transgender people have been hit hard. Their income decreased because they could no longer sing in the street. They could not access government health services and social assistance because they did not have an ID card. Dozens died of heart and lung disease.

So far in Yogyakarta there are at least 190 transgender people combined in different communities such as Meditation Conquest and the Transgender Family in Greater Yogyakarta and the Transgender Alliance. Most of them are from other parts of Indonesia. To apply for an ID, they must submit a family record book, birth certificate, a letter of recommendation from the head of the neighborhood they live in, and a change of address letter for newcomers. The problem is that it is difficult to meet these requirements [malgré le décret du ministère de l’Intérieur, début juin 2021, qui a officiellement levé tous ces obstacles bureaucratiques]. Most of the transgender people left their original villages and migrated to Yogyakarta due to rejection from their families and neighbourhoods. Some have lived in this city for 30 years without any family or ID.

Roli Malay, Responsible for Transgender Empowerment at Meditation She herself is a 60-year-old transgender woman, struggling to get an ID for her unfortunate sisters. For several months, she did not stop visiting civil status offices in Solomon, Bantul and Yogyakarta, the three cities in the region.

During his steps, Rulie had to patiently and kindly respond to discriminatory bureaucratic remarks. For example, some officials told him that transgender people do indeed have the right to an ID, but that they should maintain their rank as men. Rulei’s battle paid off. Almost all transgender people living in Solomon received their own ID cards. There are only six people left in Yogyakarta who do not have their papers yet.

A former member of the Orthopedic Regional Parliament, on Celebes Island, from 1987 to 1993, Rulli was appointed coordinator of the Transgender Crisis Center in Yogyakarta to handle emergencies due to the pandemic. She has organized community kitchens, co-ops, and communal vegetable gardens for transgender people to become empowered and overcome stigma and discrimination.

“We are often seen as roving monsters who refuse to take care of them. We just want to be seen as human equals,” Rowley points out.

Shinta Mahrani

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