Sisterhood: Video Of Trans Women Performing A Dance For Their Late Friend At Balinese Funeral Ritual Goes Viral (And We’re Here For It)

Tika Inces Widuri, a Balinese trans woman based in Seririt, Buleleng, died last week aged 27 after being hospitalized for five days due to gastrointestinal infections. Before she died, Tika expressed her wish that her friends could perform the sacred dance segment of her ngaben (Balinese funeral ceremony).

Her friends happily agreed and the video recently went viral after being uploaded to TikTok. The caption, written in Balinese, means: “Become one with Almighty God. Have a nice trip my friend. I hope you are in a better place in the afterlife.”

Considering how indonesia has become homophobic and transphobic in recent years (remember when netizens in indonesia attacked this lovely gay couple from thailand?) the 19-second video represents a beacon of hope for those who want more tolerance for society’s attitude towards minorities of gender.

Tika was part of the Singaraja Gay and Trans Women (abbreviated locally as Wargas) community, which helps its members to express themselves through artistic expression, including dance.

Wargas’ de facto chief Sisca D. Panggabean, affectionately called Mami Sisca (think Blanca Evangelista of Laid), said the group was initially hesitant about whether locals would agree to such a request.

“For Tika, dancing was her passion. Before her death, she asked her friends [including fellow trans women] to perform the dance as her body is transported from the funeral home to its final resting place,” Mami Sisca said. Coconutadding that although she is aware of the many forms of discrimination LGBTQIA+ Indonesians (especially trans women) regularly face, it was crucial to honor Tika’s dying wish.

“I visited local leaders and community members. I told them that’s what she wanted but we want to make sure we get the green light. What if we were already wearing makeup and putting on dresses only to encounter negative reactions? added the 49-year-old trans woman.

Fortunately, the locals agreed to Tika’s latest request and encouraged Sisca and his colleagues to carry out the plan. The ngaben The ceremony took place on Monday and the video of the dance has since gone viral.

Sisca explained that the dance that trans women performed was called to run and it was more a form of entertainment than a solemn ritual. However, she said it helped bring joy to Tika’s family, who were mourning her passing.

“We didn’t expect the video to go viral. Really, we just wanted to honor his last wish,” said Mami Sisca.

Trans women in Indonesia are the most vulnerable group among the country’s LGBTQIA+ community. Many of them are unable to complete their education after being rejected as children and therefore have few employment opportunities as adults. Many trans women end up working as street vendors or prostitutes.

Tika, according to Sisca, was a trans woman who was able to bring home the bacon for her family as a professional dancer. However, when COVID-19 hit in 2020, Tika, like many trans women, struggled to get food on his family’s table.

“Tika was a hard worker and was the breadwinner. As a dancer, she may have felt the need to diet intensively to maintain her figure and performance to the point of having a gastric infection. She was sick last year and due to the COVID-19 pandemic she didn’t get many jobs. [I guess] that’s what triggered his illness,” said Mami Sisca.

another wish

When Tika’s body was bathed for the last time in a local ritual known as nyiramangMami Sisca revealed that they suggested that family members allow makeup artists to work their magic on Tika’s face.

“We convinced them that’s what she would want,” said Mami Sisca.

Family members agreed, but insisted that Tika appear as a man for the remainder of the funeral and be buried as such. Mami Sisca said she reluctantly agreed and used the experience to tell other young trans women under her wing to live their best life as women and not worry too much about what happens after the death. dead.

“We have to be realistic,” she said.

Dorce Gamalama, a trans icon who recently died due to complications from COVID-19 and diabetes, reportedly asked to be buried as a woman. However, her family buried her as a man anyway due to social pressure.

This represented a sad setback for trans rights in Indonesia, given that Dorce was a pioneer in trans visibility in the country. Plus, not only had she had sex reassignment surgery decades ago, a court also had approved her legal status as a woman.

There’s still a long way to go, but the 19-second clip of Tika granting her wish is definitely something many LGBTQIA+ Indonesians want to see.

“I really appreciate him because his family was ready to honor [Tika’s] Last request. Especially since they allowed trans friends to accompany his departure [from this life] with dance,” said Arya, program manager of Denpasar-based NGO that focuses on HIV/AIDS education, prevention and support, Yayasan Gaya Dewata.

Dede Oetomo, founder of GAYa NUSANTARA, Indonesia’s oldest LGBT advocacy group, praised the video.

“[The video] showed the old culture which is more tolerant and accepts differences,” he said. Coconut.

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