My name is Hangga Diputra. I’m an Indonesian. I’m only 23 years old I have big interest in law and psychology ( I’m studying psychology with my main concern is about gay issues and will study law next year). I choose activism as my current interest in career because I find it is hard for us to deal with our families about our sexuality. Currently I’m doing project to voice LGBT rights starting from my home place, Surabaya and Indonesia, through a personal project titled GayVoices.
Hangga shared about his project during our annual RA exhibition in August for the indigNation festival. We kept this for so long, but it’s time to share what he thinks about sexual minority and activism in Surabaya.
Question (Q).: Thank you for sharing with us during RetreAttack! Can you tell us more about your project?
Hangga Diputra (Hangga): Your welcome Kelvin, and thanks for having me….well my project called gayvoices which main aim is helping LGBT people to voice their voices, in order to get what they deserve as human being and to give a new information to society especially in Asia about homosexuality. And to voice LGBT rights, I used social networking such as facebook by posting information about LGBT issues and to make sure my message delivered to people around the world that homosexual is not a disease nor mental disorder but something natural , I designed written t-shirts, which is in every t-shirt there are some words represent about LGBT. And those who want join me to voice LGBT voices may purchase my t-shirts. and I believe my act will be the turning point for lgbt people around world to get their rights as human being – life without fear
Q: What are your plan for this? You mentioned about publication, magazine as well as support group.
Hangga: That’s right, I also have a plan to publish my own magazine by next year, currently im looking for companions and sponsors for my magazine. My magazine will focus on exposing achieved LGBT people, because I think none mass media has ever exposed achieved LGBT people especially in Asia
Q: How is the LGBT scene in Surabaya?
Hangga: Well. LGBT scene is Surabaya is similar to LGBT in Indonesia, most of them keep their “taste” in secret, they tend not to talk about LGBT issues, because they think it is taboo to discuss about homosexuality and most of them tend to keep their secret = to be heterosexual by getting married or having heterosexual relationship.
The main reason they choose to do a heterosexual life because they do not want to get discrimination from society, moreover if you are a famous person, such as celebrity. Your career might be in jeopardy once public reveals that you are homosexuals.
It is hard to find support group for LGBT people in Surabaya – and that’s one of reason I started gayvoices as a support group not only for LGBT but also for those who concern about homosexual issues
And information related to homosexual such as books or other mass medias are rare to find – most mass medias about homosexual are just fictions like novels.
Q: Family seems to be a major issue in Indonesia’s LGBT scene. Why do you think so?
Hangga: Because in Indonesia we have very strict culture and norms regarding homosexuality, and there is no much information about homosexuality. That’s why when parents reveal their children are different they tend to judge their son as pervert and ill, and their homosexual children need to be cured, i have ever heard stories about how parents kicked out their homosexual children from home and how parents abused their homosexual children physically and psychologically, and when I heard that stories I broke my tears … I mean it was so moving to me to hear just because something they unplanned they were not treated as human being
Q: Going back to you, after you came out, especially at a relatively early age, how are the responses towards that?
Hangga: Well, most my friends were shocked at the time I revealed my sexual orientation, they said “you looked so straight, how could you be gay” , seemed most people were shocked when they knew I’m openly gay, because in Indonesia there is just few people who are openly gay, but the difference is most gay people in Indonesia do coming out just in small community such as family or close friends, but I do coming out internationally hahahaha…and most gay people here do coming out at early 30 t0 40…it is very rare to find a young gay man reveals his sexual orientation to public at very young age.
Q: Last but not least, any last words for the LGBT community?
Hangga: For my LGBT friends our difference doesn’t kill our creativity means we can be everything we wanted because being different in taste doesn’t mean we have to be loser…