21 students from Sweden came down for their elective block on Global Health. So, as I am one of the CIMSA members, I was called to accompany them, and be a translator for them. Initially, I was told to translate lecture on HIV, AIDS, and TB given by NGO. So, I nodded my head, since it was regarding my curriculum. Little did I know it was so impressive.
A change of plan, so I were to accompanied them for lunch as well. Then, I realised Swedish were so polite when they eat. Somehow, I felt like I am not eating the food, I am engulfing it. Their food was nicely arranged on their plate. Mine was just meant to be dumb in my stomach.
Next stop, we went to a place named Kebaya. I thought it was a place where we see batik and kinda stuff.
The people that welcomed me at the door looked somewhat weird. I couldn’t tell what is weird, but those “man” or “women” are weird. I noticed their thick make-up, so I thought they wanted to perform for us. After I seated down, only I notice
“Center for transgender of Yogyakarta”!!!!
Those people we see on street, which sing for us and asked for some contribution. Those people working as a sex worker, trying to make a life. Those people when they passed by, we will say, “hey look over there.” Ya, i was there. They were called Waria, and their organisation named Kebaya (kelurga besar waria Yogyakarta). And only did I know there is an organisation named LGBTQ (lesbian gay bisexual transgender and questioning) also.
They are Waria, and apparently they are all very friendly.
A lot of them are of lower social economy, receiving no further education. But, fortunately, two of them managed to squeeze in university. They gave us lecture on how their organisations encounter HIV problems (since HIV is wide spread in their community). And of course, they talked about their life, how they encounter social bias, but still hold on to their believe; how they felt like being trapped in a man’s body and having a feminine spirit; how they try to make a living despite being treated differently. I must say, these people are really courageous and strong will. Imagine you being isolated from family and friends since young, being scolded for being what you are, how strong they are of making a life till now. Apparently, the pay they received for their anal sex service is just Rp20, 000 to Rp50, 000. As little as that. Ouch. I understand that most of them do not originated from Yogyakarta. They were isolated in their community, thus they came here to search for a community that will accept them as they are. And some of them actually form a family by adopting children on the street.
The students listened attentatively.
Me with Opi (09 CIMSA) and Ibu Fin (waria)
Somehow, after listening to their experience, I changed my view on them. Human, we are always different in our own ways. Hmm... somehow, I am really interested to know more psychological development of LGBTQ, such a strong internal conflict, I reckoned.
p.s. Well, one of our skill labs during fourth year will be held there, teaching us how to encounter sensitive issue, haha. Cool huh..