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GAYa NUSANTARA screening “Stories of Being Me”

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StoriesofBeingMe-CSBRPhotoFor the 2015 ‘One Day, One Struggle’ campaign, GAYa NUSANTARA, in collaboration with C2O Library and discussants from Airlangga University, is hosting a film screening of episodes from “Stories of Being Me” and a discussion on the experiences of LGBTI Indonesians.

Stories of Being Me was originally launched in May 2014 as a web-series documenting the lived experiences and personal narratives of LGBTI individuals across cities in Asia. The first series ran for two months, with a new episode premiering each week. In 2015, a second series was launched, and to date 12 episodes have been produced, exploring stories from Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Phnom Penh, Kathmandu, Singapore, Beijing, Ho Chi Minh and Kendal.

Focusing the conversation locally, GAYa NUSANTARA will be screening three episodes that document stories of Muslim Indonesian queer individuals in Jakarta and Kendal:

  • Shuniyya: In a country where faith and sexuality often clash, Shuniyya Ruhama Habiiballah has been pushing boundaries for the acceptance and inclusion of the Indonesian transgender community. Shunniya is a successful transwoman businesswoman who teaches Quran to children, thus carving a space for her gender identity and her own religiosity.
  • Vilda: Vilda is a bisexual women living with HIV who had a history of using drugs. Overcoming her own biases, she learned to accept herself fully, and she is now helping others in her own community.
  • Imam Wahudiya: A candid autobiographical perspective from Imam Wahyudi who talks about the diversity of life in Jakarta, his views on faith and urges the LGBT people to celebrate what they have in common with the wider community.

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For GAYa NUSANTARA, this event is a continuation of past actions for #OneDayOneStruggle, and reflects GAYa NUSANTARA’s interest engaging younger audiences, the use of film for advocacy, and expanding the ways we record and share personal narratives and lived experiences.

Dede Oetomo shared, “Film making was alive for a while at GAYa NUSANTARA, at an amateur level, but the program ended. So this is part of an effort to revive that. To share how film-making can be used as a vehicle for documentation and advocacy, and also to introduce people to some of the newer programs about being LGBTI in the region.

…It’s also about access. In my experiences film today is often used by younger queer people to tell stories and share experiences. And the film makers in this series are examples of activists who work through non-conventional media; these videos are not shown in theatres, which is why we’re showing them at our community event. We’re lucky to have one of the filmmakers joining us to talk about the film and his work. Hopefully this will inspire some people to make similar films themselves.

…We’ve invited a wide group of stakeholders, and we’ll have discussants guiding the conversation after the film. We hope to get our allies more engaged on LGBTI rights, and as part of One Day One Struggle under the banner of CSBR, to explore experiences of being queer in a Muslim society, of being transgender in a Muslim society. All three of the people in the documentaries are living with Islam in different ways, and the films also touch on how Islam intersects with different aspects of their identities, their livelihoods, their expression, sense of community.”

For more information on the event
, get in touch with us at coordinator@csbronline.org.

For more information about the Stories of Being Me series, see BE, an online peer support platform for young LGBTI persons, which also provides resources, maps of available services in 5 key cities in Asia.

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