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in between IDENTITY



What your first impression once you meet a transvestite, known as waria?

Afriyani – a teacher
“I was confused to make an impression. Transvestite was full of ambiguity, especially if he wants to go in the toilet, the toilet entrance of woman or man. They also confused in choosing boarding houses, in boarding house for girl or boy.”

Annisa SP – a college student
“Fear and scary when I first met transvestite.. But now pity, because maybe they're so out of economic necessity or influenced by their environment. “

Yes. I felt the same too.  I felt confused and frightened when I first met a transvestite. However, I ever had a chance to know better about transvestites when I was in elementary school. Her name was mama Jensen or Jenny.  She is one of my mother friends. I went to her salon often, just to make sure, was she real? Or it just my imagination character that I used to create in my childhood. She is. Once she knew me went through her house, I felt scared, but then she gave me chocolate and candies, not even scolded me after all spy things I did. Since that, I know that transvestite is also a good person.  I broke my own theory.

First semester in college, my friends and I went to a place, pesantren waria, a transvestite place to get better understanding about their religion.  The owner of pesantren waria is also a transvestite, her name is Bu Maryani. She is 50 years old, but still she is very spirittful while explaining the history of pesantren waria. There were no gorgeous make up, no luxurious things, no heels or gown in her. She wore a veil with neat long dress, so simple yet elegant. She concerned about other transvestite life, invite them to be more religious. She believed that God has a beautiful plan for people like them. Again, it broke my first impression of transvestite, and made me realized that God always has a beautiful plan for any kind of people.

Sixth semester of my study in English Department, one of my friends said that there would be a special guest of Creative Writing Class, a transvestite.  I was so excited and wanted to meet her, unfortunately I could not meet her.

I have not met him yet. Yes he is. A man who transform into a woman. His name is Olivia Sonya Aresta. I was absent in Monday, but there was something deeply beautiful experience I should learn in that day, from Sonya. She was born in Klaten and spent her fugitive life in Yogyakarta. She had ever lived in Cilacap but she got her identity card in Bandung, so complicated.
Everything needs process; even it takes time for years. So did Sonya. She needs process to figure out her identity, as a male or female, or in between

”I used to disturb my little sister for seizing her mini skirt. She was angry to me when I got it. Actually, I wanted to wear it so much. Moreover in that time, I started to collect girl stuffs” 

It is magical long process. Her father prohibited him to play around with the members of the same sex because one day he had smashed on a baseball from his boyfriends. It turned him to search new friends, new identity.

“It’s fun to play with the girls, they’re not messy like the boys, I feel comfortable playing with them”

“pernah aku tu mikir kok yaTuhan tu gak nyiptain aku sebagai perempuan aja dari lahir”,  said Sonya.

He was an ordinary boy, with happy childhood surrounding by many girl and boy friends. Then, he got a process, a process of figuring out a place he felt comfortable. He played with boys, but he felt insecure. He played with girls, he felt safe. He knew in what place he belonged to.

He chose his life. He was in between. He is a transvestite.


It was difficult for him. His mother could not accept his changing; it made him to run out from his family, built a new life of his own. He knew, once he made a decision, he had to take action and all of the consequences.
He started a new life in Yogyakarta. He wanted to finish his study, taking a diploma in one of the university, enrich his knowledge. Sonya is a good person; she also became a volunteer in earthquake disaster on 2006 in Yogyakarta.

“People must know that a transvestite can also helpful”

People may give stereotype of transvestite life, which is close to free sex, sinful, HIV/AIDs but she will prove that transvestite has same right as other common people. She deals with the consequences of her choice with many actions which hard for other people to endure.

Long time ago, she also became a prostitute, but then she decided to make her life more beneficial to others. She tried many things, and learned from many experiences. She has been a beautician, cook, and tailor.

“I make more money than many men, I cook better than many women, I do my own make up better than many women.  I got both,” she said confidently.

She became an activist of many organizations. She is one of the volunteers of PKBI (Persatuan Keluarga Berencana Indonesia) of Yogyakarta. An institution in which concern reproductive health, organizing youth generation, organizing transvestites, and also HIV/ AIDs cases. Become a HIV Aids activist, she started to give people information about HIV Aids, the meaning, the causes, impacts, recovery, and also solution and preventive action to avoid HIV Aids. Because of her kindness to socialize and become a great activist of HIV/ AIDs, she is no longer underestimated by people. She is also famous as someone who has positive energy, smart, skillful, inspiring and hard worker.

Pipit – a medical student
“Transvestite or waria are transgender and transsexual. Not all transvestites negative. In Yogyakarta there is LSM Kebaya, an organization for transvestites. Transvestite could have deficiency of androgen hormones from the beginning of the birth, so the manly instinct was a little. Their physically men, but since they prefer small women toys, and want pretty much as same as women. If the transvestites do not disturb the public, they are just like us. Most transvestites have low education, because it is rare that an educational institution would accept transvestites, or the environment cannot accept them. Most transsexuals often have multiple partners and there are some whom do prostitution, the spread of HIV AIDS on the transgender is high enough. We cannot blame them, because what they suffer is mostly hormonal problems. “

“A transvestite can do many things, both women and men things. It makes many men become a temporary transvestite”, Sonya said.

Sonya's friend who is a man often do some makeup and busking to fulfill his need, because become a transvestite can make more money.

Dafiq & Osa – college students
“Transvestite is in two, women and men. The man became transvestite because the imbalances caused by the formation of the character of the environment and experience. Transvestites be formed by the power of the environment or the people who give the label to them, so they created by the inappropriate labeling given by the environment. Transsexuals may be formed because of personal experience, for example a person who experienced childhood sexual immorality, it encouraged hatred towards men, and soon he wanted to be a woman. Transgender can also arise due to economic factors. One of the examples there was a transvestite in RRI Solo area, he worked as a builder in afternoon, and in the night he worked as a transsexual, busking because the tough economic times”.
All of the experiences of transvestite make me think about my choices and my actions, which one is beneficial to others and which one is the ridiculous thing which hurt others. Everything needs a process, to be better person, to be ourselves. Therefore, we are still searching our identity, but we have to be thankful to God in what we have now.

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