“Lesbianism is a woman's issue”: Lesbian Activist Organizing in Indonesia



Abstract: Indonesia has no laws regarding homosexuality. In this secular Islamic state normative discourse serves to shore up heterosexuality. State and Islamic discourses work together to represent a normative view of gender and sexuality that explicitly limits women's sexuality within notions of proper femininity and motherhood. Due to state pressures on women, it was not until the late 1990s and the fall of President Suharto that two well-organized activist lesbian organizations appeared in Jakarta. Despite fears of being attacked, these groups have begun to work carefully with the media in an effort to develop a “positive image” of Indonesian lesbians and to gain minority sexual rights.