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Jakarta Post

U.S. grants asylum in Indonesian transgender case

  • The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sun, August 10 2008   /  10:26 am

The United States granted,for the first time, an asylum claim to an Indonesian transsexual last month, an activist said. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights organization Arus Pelangi founder King Oey, said that Michelle Saraswati, 42, formerly known as Michael Setiabudi, won her case at the San Fransisco Immigration Court in July. Michelle, a graduate from Trisakti University school of architecture, came to the United States in 1998 as a gay man. She stayed illegally after her work visa expired in 2001 and after her asylum claim as a gay man was rejected in 2005. In August 2006 she was arrested for violation of immigration rules. She appealed and her case was re-opened as a transgender. King acted as an expert trial witness by telephone, describing the quality of life of transgender people here. Lack of laws and legal recourse in Indonesia f...