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Popular Representations of Homosexuality in Contemporary Indonesia

by Editorial Staff in General , 12 april 2010

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar

On Wednesday April 21, Bram Hendrawan will give a Mosse lecture titled “The Spectacle of ‘Deviant Sexuality’: Popular Representations of Homosexuality in Post-Suharto Indonesia.” In the last decade, following the fall of President Suharto’s authoritarian New Order regime in 1998, Indonesia has been witnessing the emergence of new public discourses on homosexuality.

The democratization of the nation has led to the flourishing of gay and lesbian identity politics that demand the acknowledgment of gay and lesbian rights. This desire for inclusion manifests itself in different activisms, from demonstrations to queer film festivals. Parallel to this development is the Islamization of Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country.

The desire to create a religious and moralistic society has given rise to new regulations that criminalize homosexuality. These opposing forces dialectically shape the present discourse on homosexuality in Indonesia.

Media appear as a salient battle field for these different forces that strive to define the meaning and place of homosexuality in the post-Suharto nation. In the last decade, there is an explosion of cultural products from novels to films with gay or lesbian characters.

Scène from Blind Pig Who Wants to Fly, a movie that was playing at the Indonesian Gay Film Festival last year

In his presentation, Bram Hendrawan will, first of all, sketch the contour of representations of homosexuality in Indonesian media by discussing recent Indonesian novels and films that deal with homosexuality. Afterwards, he will argue that these representations are part of the emerging regulatory practices on sexuality in Indonesia that are based on a binary thinking of sexuality that perceives heterosexuality as “the normal” and homosexuality as “the deviant.”

Bram Hendrawan was born and grew up in Indonesia. He moved to the Netherlands in 2003 and did his Master Program in Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam.

With his master thesis on representations of homosexuality in Indonesian tabloid television news programs, he graduated Cum Laude in 2009. Currently, he is working on his PhD project on local television in Indonesia at Utrecht University.

The project is funded by the Mosaic Program 2009 of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO).

Place: VOC zaal, Bushuis, Kloveniersburgwal 48, Amsterdam
Time: Wednesday 17.00-19.00. Free entry



In the New Issue of Gay News, 322, June 2018

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