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Jakarta Post

‘Waria’: Mentally ill by nature or nurture?

  • Billie Jones


Jakarta   /   Sat, March 7, 2020   /  05:20 pm
‘Waria’: Mentally ill by nature or nurture? Sexual identity is not a mental illness, but the lack of sociocultural and institutional support for trans-people is causing psychological harm to many. (Shutterstock/taa22)

Aceh is the only province in Indonesia that legislatively prohibits lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI) activity. Vigilantes and sharia police raid the homes and workplaces of many in the LGBTQI community, making public displays of their “unnatural behavior”. The distinct visual contrast between waria or transwomen and heterosexual individuals makes them incredibly vulnerable to such raids, leaving many transwomen fearful for their livelihoods. Law No. 18/2014 on mental health guidelines categorizes homosexuals and bisexuals as “people with psychiatric problems” whilst transgender people are said to have “mental disorders” — the distinction being that psychiatric conditions, if not treated, will put people “at risk of developing a mental disorder”. This ideology infers that homosexuality is a gate...

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.