Life as a Mermaid: Being Transgender in West Borneo

Cindy Clarissa finds surprising beauty in unexpected places in her travels as a photojournalist. This photo series and essay about Aulia in West Borneo is a perfect example.

BY Cindy Clarissa

June 14 2012 6:28 AM ET

A transgender person’s (waria*) life in Indonesia is dominated with stigma and discrimination.  Marginalized by society, rejected by religion and ostracized by their family, many young transgender are left to "figure it out" on their own. Most end up gravitating toward the dominant transgender community, already rife with its own issues of prostitution and HIV.

*Indonesians refer to transgender people as waria, a word created combining two words that is: wanita (woman) and pria (man).

Tags: Photography

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