Director of Amnesty International Indonesia Usman Hamid invites elements of Indonesian’s civil societies and mass media to oversee Mira murder case, a trans woman tortured and burned in Cilincing, North Jakarta (5/4). This control is to encourage police to consider gender and sexual−diverse sensitivity in handling Mira’s case and prevent police personal biases so that law enforcement can carried out fairly.
In the other hands, it is really necessary to cooperatively think about the precise response to tendency “politic of demonization” by politicians who spread hate speech towards marginal community, such as LGBTIQ, especially trans woman who is really vulnerable.
“Coronavirus pandemic makes transgender more vulnerable. Because of discrimination, they have been facing difficulties to get healthcare, jobs, housing̲̲− frequently rejected to rent a house, and limited access to get social justice like Mira,” former Commission to Handle an Enforced Disappearances and Victims of Violence (KontraS) Coordinator added to web seminar (Webinar) “Media discussion: The Impact of Covid-19 and Media Coverage on Transgender” held by Journalists Association for Diversity (SEJUK) cooperated with Internews, Monday (13/4).
Hendrika Mayora Victoria from trans woman community, Fajar Sikka, East Nusa Tenggara is immensely worried about what Mira faced could happen to her community’s members in her area, East Indonesia, if media writes negative reports about trans woman or LGBTIQ in general. Luckily, in East Nusa Tenggara, media is eligible enough in reporting trans woman issues.
“Since trans woman’s gender expression is easily recognized, we built safety and security system,” said Mayora seemingly hoped worse things do not afflict her colleagues in East Nusa Tenggara as the community in Maumere is actively participated at Family Welfare Movement and other activities where residents are involved.
Solidarity for Coronavirus-Pandemic-Affected Trans Woman
In addition, the impact of coronavirus pandemic hugely affected the economic and trans woman community to access healthcare, such as in Maumere. Based on Fajar Sika accompaniments, there are many elderly trans women confused how to handle the situation during pandemic because even returning to their villages would be rejected because of stigma.
“Nowadays, many trans women lose their jobs. They work no longer at a salon or be a cook on a wedding ceremony, and so on,” said a trans woman elected as a chair of Local Consultative Agency (BPD) in Desa Habi, Kangae, Sikka.
Although trans woman community tend to be accepted in Maumere compare to Jakarta and other regions in Indonesia, but during coronavirus pandemic, they are truly undefended.
“I heard Department of Social Services has aid packages for coronavirus-pandemic-affected residents, because of stigma and a number of trans women have no ID Card (e-KTP), they find difficulties to have the aid packages” Mayora speaking to 108 audiences− 5 trans women, 2 trans men, 68 women, and 33 men.
There are 10 journalists involved in Webinar, they are 5 editors− Usman Kansong (Media Indonesia), Ahmad Junaidi (The Jakarta Post), Sonya Helen (Kompas), Istiqomatul Hayati (Tempo.co), Margith Damanik (IDN Times), and the rest are reporter.
Through Webinar, Mayora invited her colleagues to unite during coronavirus pandemic to conduct fundraising to help coronavirus-pandemic-affected transgender people.
In the capital or national level, the chairperson of Sanggar Waria Remaja (SWARA) Kanzha Vina also fundraising with LGBTIQ community, network, and residents to help coronavirus-pandemic-affected trans women. The donation had already distributed to Jakarta, Bogor, Depok, Tangerang, and Bekasi (Jabodetabek).
Although The Government of Special Region of Jakarta and Ministry of Social Affairs of Indonesia have aid budget to reduce coronavirus pandemic impact to residents, but Vina and her friends are not be able to wait without actions. While, by obeying physical distancing policy, could people not go to work anymore. In spite some of trans women can deal with this pandemic, but a number of them are gottenrid of from their rented house because they could not pay the rent since they have no job.
The Role of Media to Voice Trans Woman’s Fate
The vulnerabilities of trans women told by Mayora and Vina as moderator of Webinar Saidin Ahmad encouraged his fellow journalists through writing factual coverage and taking part to remind the governance to address aid packages during coronavirus pandemic directly to the most susceptible subject: trans women.
Responded to Webinar, News Director of Media Indonesia Usman Kansong hopes his fellows open their eyes and start to reporting marginal communities being prone to be coronavirus-pandemic-affected people. But, he is aware to have a freedom to speak louder about LGBTIQ community still need lengthy journey to be passed.
“The ideology of my fellow media has not nationally equal yet. The journalists participating SEJUK’s agendas could have better perspective but could not that good in reduction,” he stated.
For instance, on editor in chief Whatsapp group, there are a number of people who badly dislike whenever the members start to discuss about LGBTIQ. Indeed, the author of Jurnalisme Keberagaman concludes that most of media in Indonesia have not stood with LGBTIQ. He took Mira case coverage as an example in which more statements are quoted from police than the explanations from trans woman community which is the first informant who posted about the violence that led their friend to death on social media.
“Linked to LGBTQ, first, most media prefer silence: two writes negative reports: and three a reporter writing a well report is a minority (in media circle).” Usman Kansong while hoping that more media would provide a friendly understanding of LGBTIQ in the media. 
By: Thowik & Yuni Pulungan