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Jakarta Post

Jakarta Social Agency targets transgender people as 'social misfits'

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, March 8, 2018   /   04:44 pm
Jakarta Social Agency targets transgender people as 'social misfits' Tearful reunion: Tarnisem (left) and her transgender daughter Neneng are pictured on Mar. 5 after Neneng was released from city-owned social rehabilitation center Bina Insan Bangun Daya 1 in Kedoya, West Jakarta. West Jakarta Social Agency officers detained Neneng last week while she was drinking coffee at a small stall in Cengkareng. (Warta Kota/Hamdi Putra)

The Jakarta Social Agency has classified waria, or transgender women, as people with social dysfunctional traits, which has led to many waria being rounded up and sent to rehabilitation centers.

The agency's head of rehabilitation affairs, Chaidir, told The Jakarta Post that the agency regularly conducted raids against transgender women. “Soon after we have a waria admitted to a social house, we will notify her family or her community to organize her release,” he said.

Families of the detained waria must meet all administrative requirements to secure their release, Chaidir added, which consisted primarily of an official letter verifying the waria's place of residence to prove that she was not homeless.

If she came from outside Jakarta, the agency would notify the social agency of the province where she was registered, he said. The move was intended, Chaidir explained, “to create a deterrent effect, so that [the province] will know that one of their residents has become Jakarta’s social problem”.

Last week in West Jakarta, Duri Kosambi subdistrict head Irwansyah Alam hindered a mother’s attempt to secure the release of her detained transgender daughter from city-owned rehabilitation center Bina Insan Bangun Daya in Kedoya.

(Read also: Mother's request to release arrested transgender daughter ignored)

Irwansyah refused to sign a draft letter of domicile and instead tore up the document so that Tarnisem, the mother of transgender Neneng, originally called Ahmad Sehu, had to remain in the rehabilitation center.

Eventually, Tarnisem was able to secure her daughter's release by attaining the necessary document from Cengkareng district officials. The district officials have the authority to issue the letter because Duri Kosambi subdistrict is part of Cengkareng.   

Chaidir had also explained that anyone – transgender people, homeless people, street buskers and beggars – who were detained at a rehabilitation center were required to sign a statement that they would not repeat the violation.

“Once or twice is still OK, but if we catch them a third time, they can be sent to jail for committing the same violation over and over,” he said. (vla)