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Jakarta Post

'Anyone can get into politics': Indonesian transwomen defy all odds to break glass ceiling

  • Budi Sutrisno

    The Jakarta Post

PREMIUM
Jakarta   /   Mon, June 22, 2020   /  03:55 pm
The Jakarta Post Image
Hendrika Mayora Victoria (left) poses for photo with children during a cultural event and Kety Haji Jalla (right). The two Indonesian transwomen have successfully broken through the glass ceiling to take their place in public office and serve in positions that allow them to make impactful decisions.(Courtesy of Hendrika Mayora Victoria (left) /Kety Haji Jalla (right)/-)

For transgender people in Indonesia, being able to live peacefully without facing judgement and discrimination is already a major challenge, let alone pursuing their dreams openly. Several transwomen, however, have shown that the sky’s the limit as they have successfully broken through the glass ceiling by claiming their place in public office and serving in positions that allow them to make impactful decisions. In a small village in Sikka regency, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), transwoman Hendrika Mayora Victoria was elected as the chairperson of the village consultative body (BPD) in March this year, defeating six other male candidates. The win did not come easily for Hendrika – affectionately called Bunda Mayora – who had to fight for acceptance in her Catholic-dominated community through devotion to the church, as well as women, the e...