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'First Fridays' Deakin GSS Seminar Series -- Queer Visibility and National...

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Deakin Downtown

727 Collins Street

Level 12, Tower 2

Melbourne, VIC 3008

Australia

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'First Fridays' Deakin GSS Seminar Series -- Historical Perspectives on Queer Visibility and National Belonging in Indonesia

A seminar by Benjamin Hegarty

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The past two years have seen the term LGBT shift from an unknown acronym to household term in Indonesia, overwhelmingly framed in negative terms. Many commentators have labelled these transformations as both unprecedented and a break with a long tradition of tolerance for gender and sexual diversity. While sympathetic to these concerns, queer visibility in Indonesia has long been met with a broad range of responses ranging from outright hostility, to begrudging tolerance, to open celebration. This paper, based on historical and ethnographic research undertake in 2014-2015 in Indonesia, reflects on the events related to LGBT in Indonesia over past two years within a history of Indonesian national modernity. Starting from the late 1960s, I sketch out a chronology that demonstrates how transgender femininity developed a profile as a form of visibility that was at once popularly enjoyed and officially denigrated. I then present how a historical reading of queer visibility in contemporary Indonesia calls for attention to three areas: 1) the media and mediation; 2) the relationship between private and public; 3) the currents and effects of globalised knowledge. In conclusion, I reflect on how historical and/or cross-cultural perspectives continues to offer a vital vantage point for scholars of gender and sexuality studies; a way to resist universalising notions of rights as a one-way movement towards modernity.

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About the Speaker

Benjamin Hegarty is a Research Fellow in Gender and Sexuality Studies at Deakin University. He recently completed his Ph.D. at the Australian National University on the topic of transgender femininity and national modernity in New Order Indonesia (1967-1998). This research will appear in a forthcoming Transgender Studies Quarterly special issue on Trans-in-Asia (eds. Howard H. Chiang, Todd A. Henry, Helen Hok-Sze Leung). Benjamin will be based at the University of California, Irvine as a visiting researcher from September 2018 to March 2019.

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Image attribution: Remotivi

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Location

Deakin Downtown

727 Collins Street

Level 12, Tower 2

Melbourne, VIC 3008

Australia

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