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Be A Wiser Friend for Our Rainbow Friends
Illustration of LGBT (rainbow flag). dok. KOMUNIKA ONLINE
Thursday, 20 July, 2017 | 10:54 WIB
Be A Wiser Friend for Our Rainbow Friends

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta,

Written by Raihani Safira Wardani  (Student of Journalism – Binus International University)

Adit (Pseudonym), 18 years old, defines being gay is what he received from his life. He believes that he should not feel ashamed because of who he is. “I will follow the path that I think is right for me and would not let others define who I am,” said Adit. Even though there are many people who are against the idea the LGBTIQ+ community, for Adit being gay, it is something that he is proud of. It is never easy, living a life where the majority of the people in Indonesia are not in favor of the LGBTIQ+ community. Adit has troubles expressing his sexuality since there many people who judge and criticize his sexuality. Some of his friends even told him to stop being who he is.

The first time Adit knew he is gay was when he was still in Junior High School. He has one friend who was close to him. At first, he thought it was just a normal man-to-man friendship but he felt there is more to it. They have special nicknames for each other and he became comfortable with him. That is when he realized that he likes men.

The negative stigmas people put on the LGBTIQ+ community are what makes it concerning. Sayings such as ‘homosexuals should be eradicated’ or ‘don’t come near homosexuals because it is contagious’, trigger hate towards the LGBTIQ+ community, which lead to threats and violence. Being gay for Adit is never a choice. “Being gay in Indonesia is difficult. Many people are very judgmental and they intimidate the people who are different from them,” mentioned Adit. The wrong interpretations of the LGBTIQ+ community worsen the situation. Indonesians are still very close-minded. On top of that, they do not care about the feeling of the people who are LGBTIQ+. “Most people have this way of thinking ‘you are wrong and I don’t care why’. That what makes people like me, feel intimidated. Instead of intimidate others, why don’t they just accept us?,” he explained. Changing the way people think is a very difficult task, but Adit hopes that in the future, it will change.

Being bullied because of one’s sexuality is common. For a person to experience being bullied because of their sexuality is what breaks Adit’s heart. People like Adit, need friends who will accept the way he is. But in reality, most people usually avoid people like him. Although Adit has never been bullied because of his sexuality, but he has gone through a heartbreaking experience.

“One day, my parents found out that I am gay. After they found out, my father screamed in front of my face that I am the son of the devil. They didn’t want to accept that I am their son because I am gay.”

Adit’s parents found out from his older cousin. His cousin asked Adit’s friends where he is and knowing how close Adit and his cousin are, his friend thought that she knew about Adit’s sexuality. Then, he told her, Adit is with his boyfriend. When Adit arrived home, his parents were furious. They shouted at him. His father then slapped and punched him. He was stunned by the reactions. “The words he was screaming at me weren’t suitable to the kind of talking you have with your son. He was talking to me as if I’m his enemy,” told Adit with a cracked voice. Words such as “anak setan lo!”,“ga berguna” and “lo hidup cuman buat nyusahin orang aja” can be heard during the fight. The physical and mental torment still continues until this day forward. However, his mother has a changed of heart and started to accept even though she still tries to convert him back.

“Whenever I come home, I never feel like I’m home. It became more intense and violence day by day with my father. There are other reasons why he is abusive but he made my sexuality became one of his reasons to act violent.”

Ever since Adit was still in Junior High School, his father has been abusive. However, after his father found out about his sexuality, it became more severe. Moreover, Adit has come out to some of friends so they knew about his sexuality. Some were okay with his sexuality but some still remind him not to dive in too far. There are others who told him to stop being gay if he still wants to continue to be their friends. Being gay in a place where most people are against LGBTIQ+, Adit needs to be strong and remind himself that there are people who will accept him for who he is.

“People should be more aware of our feelings and they should be more open to the idea of LGBTIQ+. Even if they don't want to accept it, it’s better for them stay neutral and don’t intimidate us,” mentioned Adit. Intimidation is never good for any reasons. The more people intimidate the LGBTIQ+ community, the more they feel unwelcome and reluctant to be who they are. When people cannot be who they are, they would find themselves lost in the dark. Some even try to commit suicide because of the pressure. Therefore, Adit suggested that the society should stop judging others based on their sexuality. People like him need a place where they can feel safe, which are free from threats, intimidation and violence.


I Am Who I Am

The unpleasant feeling of being unwelcomed by the society is not only happening to people who are gay, but it also happens to people who are bisexual. Dinda (Pseudonym), 23 years old, feel that people are too insensitive towards the LGBTIQ+ community. As she is a part of LGBTIQ+ community, she became one of the minority groups in society. The LGBTIQ+ community is like a home to her where she found a place to share and discuss with people who accept her sexuality.

Dinda thinks that people who bullied others because of their sexuality are the worst. “Just mind your own business, live your own life,” told Dinda. Each person has their own right to be who they are, so Dinda believes that it should not be other people’s bussiness if a person is gay or lesbian or bisexual or queer. It is who they are and they are proud of it.

Early this year, Dinda just realized that she is bisexual. “It was hard, I didn't want to share my sexuality but it just happened. But then, they accepted me the way I am,” said Dinda. As Dinda is very tomboyish and she dresses like men do, people can easily guess her sexuality. For Dinda, it is not easy to come out because there are a lot of people who cannot accept her sexuality around her circle. Being bisexual in Indonesia, there are several aspects that Dinda ponders upon. Sometimes she needs to hide her sexuality or put on a mask when she is in front of her friends, but sometimes she just go through with it. She would not care about what other people say as they judge her sexuality.

The saying of ‘homosexuality is a sickness’ is very common and for Dinda, she opposes the idea. Dinda had once a discussion with her friends about homosexuality. After the discussion, they came out with a conclusion that homosexuality is NOT a sickness. They thought that it is just a label, people cannot force their feelings to like someone because feelings are natural. “Sexuality is people’s privacy and right. No one can force how we feel. Show some respect because we’re mutual as human beings. We are human beings too, just like you.”


GAYa NUSANTARA: Be Proud of Your Sexuality

GAYa NUSANTARA is Is a pioneer of a gay organization in Indonesia that is open and proud of its identity and does not question the diversity of sex, gender and sexuality and other backgrounds. This nonprofit organization was established on August 1, 1987 by Dede Oetomo as an association to fight for LGBTIQ+ rights. GAYa NUSANTARA was renewed to Yayasan GAYa NUSANTARA (GN) on 27th of June 2012 through the approval of KemenHukHAM. The future goal of GN is to have an accepting society to diversity as in sexuality. Just like their tag line, they want people to be proud of their sexuality, no matter what it is. Currently, the staffs in GAYa NUSANTARA are only 4 people. They have one board member, and volunteers, which in total they have around 15 people.

The volunteer from GAYa NUSANTARA first joined in GN because of the movie Prayers for Bobby. “It is kinda tacky, sad movie tho :) but it changed me. Before joining GN, I was still sort of ignorant. I didnt see the purpose of me joining GN because my life has been ok. No bullying, when I came out to my parents they accepted me eventually” told the volunteer. Then, he realized that his friends were not as lucky as he is. As he watched the movie, he realized he needs to do something. Then, she decided on October 2016, it was the time for him to contribute to the community as a volunteer.

GN educate the society through workshops and seminars about sexuality. They do not only educate people with different sexuality, so that that they understand that they are okay, not sinners, they can accept themselves, but GN also educate the straight people. They work alongside with religious and community leaders, different NGOs, government officials and many more. Issues from advocacy to HIV awareness are their main focus. For example what we are doing and still in progress is making film documentaries.

“Everyone is unique. Nevertheless they are human. Humans, how different they are, are still humans, and they should be treated as one,” the volunteer mentioned. He feels that people should learn more about diversity. There are different opinions and the society should be open-minded and critical towards their cultures and beliefs.



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