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Activist plans home for ageing transgenders in Indonesia

Yulianus Rettoblaut, chair of the Indonesian Transgender Forum, says funds are needed for waria nursing home
Yulianius Rettoblaut (Mami Yuli), chair of the Indonesian transgender forum

Indonesian transgender activist Yulianus Rettoblaut is planning a home for elderly waria (transgenders) in Depok, West Java, Indonesia.

‘We have to do [the project] bit by bit because currently no one is eager to support us financially,’ Yulianus said in an interview with The Jakarta Post. ‘I hope that eventually people can see how important this is for our aging friends.’

Traditionally elderly people in Indonesia are cared for by their families but the families of waria often reject and loose contact with them.

Yulianus currently cares for three waria, 67-year-old Yoti, aka Oma (granny) Maya, 67-year-old Sri or Mbok (mother) Sri and 71-year-old Iwan, or Oma Anita. She would like to build a large nursing home for ageing transgenders but she said it’s impossible at the moment because of lack of funds.

Instead Yulianus, also known as Mami Yuli, focuses on training waria to support themselves in old age.

‘We have successfully trained around 40 aged transgenders who currently live independently. Most of them are beauticians, tailors and cooks,’ said Yulianus. ‘But, of course, we will try to accommodate those, like Anita, who can barely walk anymore.’

Yulianus, chair of the Indonesia Transgender Forum, applied to serve on the national human rights commission Komnas HAM earlier this year but did not make it through the rigorous selection process.

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