Transgenders battle for license to live a decent life
Jakarta Globe - November 18, 2010
Nurfika Osman, Jakarta -- Many transgenders are finding little sympathyfrom the government as they struggle to obtain vitally important ID cards.
The national ID card, known as the KTP, is required for everything fromgetting a driver's license and applying for a loan to enrolling at a schooland registering to vote. It is also required when seeking medical treatment
at state and private hospitals.
Many transgenders are denied a KTP because ward officials refuse toregister them under the gender they choose to identify with.Ourvoice is a group that lobbies for the rights of marginalized groups suchas sex workers and people living with HIV/AIDS. Its secretary, Hartoyo,said on Thursday that being deprived of a KTP threatened the health ofpeople from such groups.
"When you do not have a KTP, access to health care becomes more difficult,"he said at a press conference to mark World Transgender Day on Saturday.
"Meanwhile, these people are among the key groups most prone to HIV/AIDSinfections." Hartoyo said because they could not get the cards, manytransgenders were being denied HIV/AIDS treatment. "All they can do is waitfor their condition to worsen," he said.
Hartoyo also lamented the state of poverty most transgenders were forced toendure. "When a transgender is poor, the condition is worse than for otherpeople because not many people want to help them," he said.
Of the estimated 3,000 transsexuals in Jakarta, half did not have an IDcard, he said, quoting figures from the Transsexual Communication Forum."They face layers of oppression, stigma and denial of access to welfare,"Hartoyo said.
He said very few male-to-female transgenders finished school becauseheadmasters prohibited them from dressing like females. "For transgenders,the job market is limited to beauty parlors and entertainment," Hartoyosaid, adding this restriction also fueled the poverty problem. "You can't
work in other fields."
An estimated 24 percent of all Indonesians living with HIV/AIDS aretranssexuals, according to 2007 data from the Health Ministry and theCentral Statistics Agency (BPS).
Sujana Rojat, head of the National Program for Community Empowerment (PNPM)at the Coordinating Ministry for People's Welfare, said the ministry hadplanned a program, PNPM Peduli, to ensure easy access to health care andeducation for groups at high risk of HIV/AIDS.
"These people have the potential to help develop our country, so we have totreat them fairly," Sujana said.
Desy Mutialim, a World Bank official in charge of supporting PNPM programs,said the PNPM Peduli program would begin next year. An initial $3 millionwould be allocated for a pilot to run from January 2011 to June 2012.
"PNPM Peduli will work at the local level through local civil societyorganizations and community groups, which will receive the grants," shesaid. "These organizations will be responsible for identifyingbeneficiaries and reaching out to the vulnerable groups, including thetransgender groups. At the moment, we're still in the process of selectingthe organizations."