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Queer Histories in Indonesia

Indonesian queer history is a living and shifting testament to the strength, vitality, and creativity, of its communities. Our discussion invites all involved to consider how community histories and their collection, accessibility and celebration shape ideas of belonging, identity, nation and self.

Join us for a panel discussion looking at the work of engaging with Indonesian queer history and archival practice in Indonesia and beyond, featuring Harits Paramasatya, Beau Newham, Sidhi Vhisatya and Karina, from the Queer Indonesia Archive, and Wulan Dirgantoro, Benjamin Hegarty and Annisa Beta.

Register and book now.

Queer histories with the Queer Indonesia Archive 

Indonesia has a rich and distinctive queer history. A history encompassing diverse practices, expressions, categories, individuals, and relations. Queer communities have had an important relationship to national belonging and alternative visions of social life before and after Indonesian independence from Dutch colonial rule in 1945. 

Our discussion will explore the ethical, political, and practical components of queer archives within the Indonesian context. The discussion invites audiences to consider how the collection, accessibility and celebration of community histories shape ideas of belonging, identity, nation and self. The conversation will touch on recent QIA collection projects, Jakarta queer women histories, community responses to HIV, and the mapping of gay, lesbian and waria organisations.

Queer Indonesia Archive 

Founded in 2019 as a digital archiving project committed to the collection, preservation and celebration of material reflecting the lives and experiences of queer Indonesia, the archive is community-led and run. In the project’s short history it has collected a range of materials that reflect the diversity of queer Indonesia, including zines, oral histories, internet websites, letters, and photographs. QIA has curated accessible online exhibitions about queer Jakarta in the 1990s, community publications, and the history of HIV and AIDS. This forum coincides with the inaugural visit of QIA to the Australian Queer Archive, which was founded in 1978.

Participants include

  • Harits Paramasatya, Queer Indonesia Archive
  • Beau Newham, Queer Indonesia Archive
  • Sidhi Vhisatya, Queer Indonesia Archive
  • Karina, Queer Indonesia Archive
  • Wulan Dirgantoro, University of Melbourne
  • Benjamin Hegarty, University of Melbourne

Chaired by

  • Annisa Beta, University of Melbourne

*QIA uses queer as a broad and inclusive umbrella term to indicate our interest in objects that reflect the experience of all diverse sexualities, genders and gender expressions deemed non normative by current dominant heteronormative discourses in Indonesia. The term does not adequately capture either the gender or sexual diversity that exists across Indonesia, nor the role this diversity has played in the numerous cultures across the archipelago.

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Date: 8 July 2022
Time: 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm Location: Ashis Nandy Room, IPCS

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Archives History Indonesia Queer



Wulan Dirgantoro

Dr Wulan Dirgantoro is a researcher of modern and contemporary Indonesian art. Her research focus looks at the intersection between feminism, trauma, memory and artmaking in Indonesia and Timor-Leste. She is the author of “Feminisms and Indonesian Contemporary Art: Defining Experiences” (2017). She was part of “Ambitious Alignments: New Histories of Southeast Asian Art”, a research program funded through the Getty Foundation’s Connecting Art Histories initiative. Wulan has also taught in the MA Asian Art Histories at Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore and is currently a Lecturer in Art History and Curatorship at the University of Melbourne.

Annisa R. Beta

Dr Annisa R. Beta is a Lecturer in Cultural Studies at the School of Culture and Communication, the University of Melbourne, Australia. Before coming to Melbourne, she was a postdoctoral fellow at National University of Singapore. Her research is broadly concerned with youth, new media, and political subjectivity in Indonesia and Southeast Asia.

Benjamin Hegarty

Dr Benjamin Hegarty is an anthropologist of gender and sexuality, with a geographical focus on Indonesia. His research interests are in medical anthropology and transgender studies. He is a McKenzie Fellow at the University of Melbourne and Research Fellow at the Center for HIV AIDS Research at Atma Jaya Catholic University in Jakarta. His first book, The Made-Up State: Technology, Trans Femininity, and Citizenship in Indonesia (Cornell University Press, 2022), addresses the experiences of waria (one Indonesian transgender population) in the context of postcolonial modernity.