TheJakartaPost

Please Update your browser

Your browser is out of date, and may not be compatible with our website. A list of the most popular web browsers can be found below.
Just click on the icons to get to the download page.

Jakarta Post

Dede Oetomo: Starting something

  • Cynthia Webb

    Contributor

Jakarta   /   Wed, April 18 2012   /  10:07 am

JP/Cynthia Webb“I got the missionary-type zeal from my aunt,” says Dede, laughing, “but I don’t use it for religion.”

His aunt was a member of the Pentecostal church and an evangelist. However, Dede’s evangelism is his belief that life should be easier in Indonesia for people who are of differing sexualities than the so-called “norm”. He particularly wants to help young people facing social, religious and family disapproval.

As a 58-year-old gay man, he remembers vividly when he finally broke the news to his parents at the age of 20. He was lucky, and after the initial shock his father adjusted and his mother was more accepting. They soon said, “It doesn’t matter. You are our family and you must be with us.”

Of course, he was aware much earlier that he was not like other boys. “My friends were all calling girls. At first, I didn’t know what...