An international human rights organization this weekend recognized the achievements of an Islamic boarding school for transwomen.
Shinta Ratri, leader of the school in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, received an award from Ireland-based Front Line Defenders.
Shinta, who established the school in 2008, told the Jakarta Post she was full of gratitude.
She dedicated the award to the LGBT community.
‘The right to pray and learn about religion is for every human’ she also said.
Homosexuality is not currently illegal in most of the country. In the province of Aceh, and for Muslims in the city of Palembang, it is illegal under Sharia Law.
Religious and political leaders have been whipping up hatred against the LGBTI community for the last three years.
Authorities also introduced local by-laws to drive out their LGBTI populations or used archaic pornography laws to prosecute.
That’s why most remain in the closet, living in fear.
Shinta established the Al-Fatah with fellow transwoman Mariani.
It provides shelter, counseling, and teaching for transwomen who have been rejected by their families.
Shinta, who is 57, has been head of the school since 2014.
In 2016, a national Islamic organization demanded Shinta shut down the project.
‘It would have been very easy to close the school, but bu Shinta decided to continue’ commended Front Line Defenders board of trustee’s member Mary Jane Real.
But, according to the Jakarta Post, many neighbors are supportive of the school.
They value the school’s good deeds and contributions to the local community.