Creating a Safe Space

The Situation: Indonesian lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people have experienced increasing violence and discrimination in recent years. Strong religious and cultural norms inform the social and political climate. Both state actors and community members violate the rights of LGBT citizens. In spring 2011 the situation escalated when several transgender activists were targets of a brutal attack that left one person dead.

The Rapid Response: Sanggar Warna Remaja (SWARA), the only transgender organization in its area, requested Urgent Action Fund support their response by creating safe space for transgender activists to share information on health, sexuality and human rights without fear of attack. SWARA works to increase transgender community empowerment, increase access to public services in sexual health and HIV/AIDS prevention and educate the transgender community and broader society on human rights.

The Impact: SWARA established a safe space to serve transgender survivors of attack and provide information to young transgendered people. SWARA reports that the space not only serves as an information center but also as an activity center, with 10-20 young transgender people coming in every week to participate in discussion and obtain information related to health, sexuality and human rights. SWARA is currently fundraising to ensure the longtime viability of the safe space.