Sisterhood: Video of trans women performing a dance for their late friend in a Balinese funeral ritual goes viral (and we’re here for it)

Tika Inces Widuri, a Balinese trans lady based mostly in Seririt, Buleleng, handed away final week on the age of 27 after being hospitalized for 5 days on account of gastrointestinal infections. Earlier than she died, Tika expressed her want that her mates may carry out the sacred dance section of her ngaben (Balinese funeral ceremony).

Her mates fortunately obliged and the video went viral not too long ago after it was uploaded on TikTok. The caption, written in Balinese, means: “Changing into one with God Almighty. Have a secure journey, buddy. Hopefully you’re in a greater place within the afterlife.”

Contemplating how homophobic and transphobic Indonesia has turn into up to now few years (bear in mind when Indonesian netizens attacked that beautiful homosexual couple from Thailand?), the 19-second video represents a ray of hope for these wishing for extra tolerance in terms of society’s angle towards gender minorities. 

Tika was a part of the Singaraja Homosexual and Trans Girls neighborhood (regionally abbreviated as Wargas), which helps its members categorical themselves via inventive expression, together with dance.

Wargas’ de facto chief Sisca D. Panggabean, affectionately known as Mami Sisca (suppose Blanca Evangelista from Pose), stated that the group was hesitant at first whether or not the locals would settle for such a request.

“For Tika, dancing was her passion. Earlier than her passing, she requested her mates [including fellow trans women] to carry out the dance as her physique is carried from the funeral house to her last resting place,” Mami Sisca instructed Coconuts, including that whereas she is conscious of the numerous discriminations the LGBTQIA+ Indonesians (notably trans girls) often face, honoring Tika’s final want was essential.

“I paid a go to to the native leaders and neighborhood members. I instructed them that that is what she needed however we wish to ensure that to get a inexperienced mild. What if we already put our make-up on and don clothes solely to satisfy backlash?” the 49-year-old trans lady added.

Fortunately, the locals agreed with Tika’s final request and inspired Sisca and her colleagues to hold out the plan. The ngaben ceremony came about on Monday and the video of the dance has gone viral since. 

Sisca defined that the dance that the trans girls carried out was known as joged and it was extra of a type of leisure somewhat than a solemn ritual. Nonetheless, she stated that it helped carry cheer to Tika’s household, who had been grieving her passing.

“We didn’t count on the video to go viral. Actually, we simply needed to honor her final want,” stated Mami Sisca.

Trans girls in Indonesia are probably the most susceptible group among the many nation’s LGBTQIA+ neighborhood. A lot of them are unable to complete college after being shunned as children, and, consequently, have little in the best way of job alternatives as adults. Many trans girls find yourself working as avenue buskers or prostitutes. 

Tika, in keeping with Sisca, was one trans lady who was capable of carry house the bacon for her household as an expert dancer. Nonetheless, when COVID-19 hit in 2020, Tika, similar to many trans girls, struggled to get meals on her household’s desk.

“Tika was a tough employee and was the household’s breadwinner. As a dancer, maybe she felt the have to be on a hardcore eating regimen to take care of her determine and efficiency to the purpose that she obtained a gastric an infection. She was sick up to now 12 months and, on account of COVID-19 pandemic, she didn’t get many roles. [I guess] that’s what triggered her sickness,” stated Mami Sisca.

One other want 

When Tika’s physique was bathed for the final time in an area ritual often called nyiramang, Mami Sisca revealed that they’d urged that the members of the family enable make-up artists to work their magic on Tika’s face.

“We satisfied them that that is what she would need,” stated Mami Sisca.

The members of the family agreed, however insisted that Tika ought to seem as a person for the remainder of the funeral and must be buried as one. Mami Sisca stated she reluctantly obliged, and used this expertise to inform different younger trans girls below her wing to dwell their greatest lives as girls and never fear an excessive amount of about what occurs after dying. 

“We’ve got to be reasonable,” she stated. 

Dorce Gamalama, a trans icon who handed away not too long ago on account of issues from COVID-19 and diabetes, reportedly requested to be buried as a lady. Nonetheless, her household buried her as a person anyway on account of societal stress. 

It represented a tragic setback for trans rights in Indonesia, contemplating that Dorce was a pioneer for trans visibility within the nation. Moreover, not solely had she had gender reassignment surgical procedure a long time in the past, a court docket had additionally authorized her authorized standing as a lady.

There’s nonetheless a protracted solution to go, however the 19-second clip of Tika being granted her want is definitely one thing that many LGBTQIA+ Indonesians wish to see.  

Dede Oetomo, founding father of GAYa Nusantara, Indonesia’s oldest LGBT advocacy group, praised the video.

“[The video] confirmed the previous tradition that’s extra tolerant and accepting of variations,” he instructed Coconuts.

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