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.



My days spent with Aulia have enriched me in ways that are intangible. He shared with me the many facets of his life, and with it, amplify my universe. I can see how much he loves his people, people with HIV and high-risk communities such as transgender people and sex workers. Embracing these marginalized groups is more than a job or a passion, it is personal. "I was once an outcast. Nobody accepts me. Now I want to embrace those who are rejected because I know how it feels,” he told me later. There is a certain fragility about him, a kind of brokenness, yet he is immensely strong. Stronger then he or anyone thinks he is.

Tags: Photography