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Human Shadow: Indonesia Transgender

Indonesia Transgenders Struggle

About the project

"Human Shadow: Indonesia Transgenders" is a photo documentary I began working on two years ago, as a personal reflection on the struggle of transgendered people in Indonesia

The Human Shadow photo project explores the struggle and daily life of transgenders in Indonesia, one of the world's biggest muslim countries, where rejection is still the rule. The Indonesian state is the main violator of human rights, as Indonesia has many laws and regional ordinances that discriminate against transgendered people.

A sample case was that of a hardline religious group simply denying the existence of transgenders, their rejection coming about with violence. The stigma and repugnance of society towards the transgendered community makes its people become a closed group.

According to data from organisations supporting the transgendered community, there were about 7 million transgendered Indonesians in 2008. About 34 percent of them have HIV/Aids.

Due to discrimination by employers in the formal and informal sectors, they are forced onto the streets, becoming sex workers and infected by sexually-transmitted diseases.

Now, transgenders demand the rights to work and health care and but have so far failed to push the government to offer them these protections. Their existence in Indonesia ranges from the city-based Islamic rule in Aceh to the inland tribes of Papua. They can be seen, especially for those in parts of the world where transgenderphobia is still prevalent.

This project documents all aspects of the life of  transvestites and transgendered people such as health counseling, daily life, education, work and profession, transvestites in indigenous communities, violence and social comunity, and their campaign for human rights.

The Human Shadow photo project will also document the attitude of religious leaders, activists, social, and public communities toward the transgendered communities of Indonesia.

Body work project :

Photo #1


Old transgenders lunch at street vendor in Yogyakarta, The lack of public attention, there are no jobs, live in their old age miserable and under poverty. © jefri aries

Photo #2

YULIANUS RETTOBALUT, 'Mami Yuli' (transgender name) ,  A transgender become  candidat of  Indonesia Human Right Commision, Mami Yuli one of candidat from transgender. A transgender have graduate Law Bachelor of  At Tahriyah - Islamic University. Yuli a native Papuan from Wamena District.  © jefri aries 

Photo #3

Transgender HIV/Aids Conseling  in Yogyakarta, Central Java.  © jefri aries

Photo #4

A transgender MARYANI, Chief of Transgender Islamic Boarding School in Yogayakarta, Central Java.The members of the 'waria' or 'Transgender' community, a term derived from the words 'wanita' (woman) and 'pria' (man), are also students of a prayer school for Muslim transgendered. The tradition is believed to bring people closer to God. Their Koran school is called 'Senin-Kamis' meaning Monday - Thursday, the 2 days of the week the school operates. The school was founded in July 2008 by a 50-year old Maryani as a place for waria to pray; Islam strictly segregates men from women during prayer, leaving nowhere for 'the third sex' 'waria' or 'transgender'to pray, until it's founding .  © jefri aries

Photo #5


A transgender MARYANI (3rd Left) , Chief of Transgender Islamic Boarding School pray with neighbors at a mosque in Yogayakarta, Central Java.The members of the 'waria' or 'Transgender' community, a term derived from the words 'wanita' (woman) and 'pria' (man), are also students of a prayer school for Muslim transgendered. The tradition is believed to bring people closer to God. Their Koran school is called 'Senin-Kamis' meaning Monday - Thursday, the 2 days of the week the school operates. The school was founded in July 2008 by a 50-year old Maryani as a place for waria to pray; Islam strictly segregates men from women during prayer, leaving nowhere for 'the third sex' 'waria' or 'transgender'to pray, until it's founding .  © jefri aries

Photo #6

Transgenders work as  escorts  at the nigth club  in Jakarta.  © jefri aries

To realise this photo documentary, I will travel to the following locations:

Aceh, one of Indonesia province with Saria Law or Islam rule.

Batam, one of city border with Singapore, as a city of Industry, Night live and tourism

Jakarta the capital city of Indonesia, 

Yogyakarta, a city of Javanese culture, where place  Islamic boarding school of transgenders ,live harmony with their neighborhood. 

Solo, Central Java  is one  place of Javanese culture.

Surabaya is a capital city of East Java.

Bali is a paradise island in Indonesia

Makasar is a capital city of South Sulawesi, where the tansgender know as "Bissu" a traditional transvestive saman.Bissu was known since the growing of Buginese Empire, and its one of the genders of the Bugisese Tribe, an ethnic group of South Sulawesi. The Bissu are commonly termed "gender transcendent" or as "having a ritual role" in the Bugis culture. There are divergent theories regarding the definitive origins and meaning of "gender transcendent" in this context.Nowday, the community increasingly rare Bissu and they has a leader which keeps their existence as old tradition rooted in the La Galigo epic.

Borneo is an island of forest, with many tribe known as Dayak

Maluku is a thousand island in Indonesia

Papua  is a place of Tribe, Inland, and some of trangender infected by HIV / Aids

My goal :

  • Writing a travel journal describing my journey.
  • Presenting a slide show with narrative of my journey to community, students.
  • My photography will be support as image of Transgender organization media campaign.
  • Photo exhibition.

Here is link and body work for my photo project : www.humanshadows.blogspot.com

What are the funds for?

I am very well thank you for all your support my project, it is very helpful to me, where, to realise this photo documentary at nine cities in Indonesia from West to East, to get close for my object in the location, your supports is very mean to finishing my project :

Destination Map

Your fund will use for :

A. Transport 

Transport cost by flight, train, car, ship, and by any  mean to the place :

Jakarta - Aceh - Jakarta : €210

Jakarta - Batam- Jakarta  : €130

Jakarta - Borneo- Jakarta : €200

Jakarta - Solo- Yogyakarta - Jakarta : €150

Jakarta - Bali : €200

Jakarta - Makasar : €250

Jakarta - Ambon : €260

Jakarta - Papua : €600

Total : €2000

B. Acomodation Cost

for 30 day : 30 day x €60 per day = € 1800

Total Cost : €3800

About the project owner

Jefri Aries an Indonesia photographer, documentary, and travel photographer.

covered various stories in Aceh, Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Maluku and Papua, in addition to assignment in the US, Thailand, Taiwan, Cambodia, Malaysia, Mexico City, Singapore and Vietnam.

Through photography, Jefri Aries has documented issues such as the water crisis in East Nusa Tenggara, Hunger in Papua, Terorism, Transgender, Children Sex Worker amongst contentious in Indonesia. Jefri is based in Jakarta, Indonesia


My portfolio and past project :

Work publish

Publish on Bloomberg News, Zuma Press, Geographical Magazine-UK, Fortune Magazine, Toitre-Vietnam, BBC Magazine, Evd-Holland, Digital Media-USA, KPA-Canada, Heinrich-Germany, Muteen Edition-France, Greenpeace, Asia Money, Wall Street Journal, TIME, UN-Irin, Missio Munchen, Reed Bussines Information Ltd, Pearson Education, tvoviny.sk, Online7plus, Yahoo! Indonesia, Le Monde, Capital France, MONEYWEEK -France, SAS Clés – France, ProfiMedia – Czech Republic, Finansavisen – Norway, NYPost

Book of Photography

Tax book for Sparkle Jakarta

Ocean of Tears Aceh Tsunami Book of photography

Annual Report 2005 UNDP

Live must go On A years – BRR Aceh

World Bank

A book Photography Tsunami aceh Fivty Seven Seconds Book of photography

Hand – Visionary, Hongkong

Contact :

email : [email protected]

mobile : +628161641400

personal website

www.jefriaries.com