The documentary film WARIAZONE explores the notion of transgender in Indonesia - a country with the world's largest Moslem community.
Warias (male-to-female transsexuals) contend that God made them this way. However, religious circles have labelled them sinful. Activist attempts to increase tolerance have paradoxically forced warias to keep silent. Bringing sexuality to the public's attention has provided extreme religious groups with the opportunity to attack them in the name of "protecting public morals" and the "freedom of speech".
Warias, who are often described as a combination of masculinity and femininity, a third sex, or a woman's soul born in the body of a man, refer to various problems in relation to post-colonial condition. Traditionally, variations in gender identity have been considered to be holy in many Indonesian cultures, but today warias have been relegated to an outlaw zone on the outskirts of society. The consequences of the stigmatisation based on the rigidity of social constructions (morals, religions, hetero-normativity, etc.) include non-recognition of their gender identity, discrimination, limited work opportunities, sex industry, HIV/AIDS.
Film by KIWA and Terje Toomistu