Indonesia: Inside the Islamic Boarding School for Transgender People

When Shinta Ratri visits her family in Yogyakarta, the Indonesian city where she still lives, she sits outside her family’s home and waits. She hasn’t been allowed inside since she was 16, when as a young boy she told her family she identified as a girl.

Today, Shinta, 53, is one of the leading transgender activists in the country. 

She runs Pondok Pesantren Waria, an Islamic boarding school for so-called waria, a portmanteau of the Indonesian words for woman (wanita) and man (pria). The school provides a tight-knit community for transgender women from across the country who may face discrimination at home.  Read More