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.



One night in a café he shared a story with me. Once, during a training course, the organizer asked the participants to draw their hopes and dreams. He drew a mermaid sitting on a rock in the middle of the ocean and behind her, on the land, there is a family and a house. The mermaid, longing to live both on the land and the sea, represents his current state of being, split between male and female. The family is his dream of one day becoming “the perfect human like everyone else” and to be able to have his own family. The house is his desire to be able to build a care house for people with HIV/AIDS, especially those who have no one to turn to. A place where they will be cared for physically, mentally and spiritually. A place of hope and dignity.

Tags: Photography