Trans group to attend Independence Day celebrations

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Sixty-two years ago, Indonesia declared its separation from the Netherlands and began a four-year war to try and maintain its independence.

This week, members of the Yogyakarta Transvestites Organisation are planning their own coup by being involved in the anniversary celebration.

The Jakarta Post reported that the celebration would include lavish stage performances, along with games and sporting events including a football tournament.

The 265 members of the YTO group hope to be involved in the occasion, but are aware of the dangers associated with asserting their presence.

Indonesia is a Muslim majority culture where gay, lesbian and transgendered people are not treated equally and are often subject to physical abuse by religious groups and state law enforcement authorities.

Indonesia is made up of an archipelago of 18,108 islands and is the fourth most populous nation in the world.

The country has a high volume of sex workers, which has been linked to their ever-growing HIV/AIDS epidemic.

One organisation member explained that there was a public misperception that gay people and “transvestites were responsible for spreading HIV rather than the virus being transmitted through prostitution and needle use among drug users.”

That misconception has led to persecution of the gay community.

The YTO plans to participate in the games in order to counteract the discrimination and negative views that have been associated with gay people in their culture.

Dylan Vox 2007; All Rights Reserved.