Do Indonesian LGBTI Have a Place at the Reformasi Table?

The talk will chronicle the development of LGBTI communities and organising since Indonesia’s Reformasi of 1998. While it was not clear what Reformasi would imply for the LGBTI movement and LGBTI people and communities in general, soon existing LGBTI communities and organisations jumped on the bandwagon of human rights and democratisation and demanded our rights. Things were not easy, but for a decade or so there was a promise that paths would open for further advocacy. This vision has received attacks and challenges from many quarters since 2016: many politicians and faith leaders openly voice their LGBT-phobia and even translate it into legislation and policies at the national and local levels. What is not often noticed is the resistance to all this. While the movement has had to modify its strategies and take a longer term vision, individuals, communities and organisations have not stopped being active. One might even say the movement has gained strategic civil society allies and become consolidated.


Dédé Oetomo is Adjunct Lecturer at the Faculty of Business and Economics, Universitas Surabaya; Faculty of Social and Political Sciences and Faculty of Humanities, Universitas Airlangga; and the Postgraduate Program, Universitas Katolik Widya Mandala Surabaya.

He is a scholar, educator and activist in research, education and advocacy in the fields of language and society, HIV & AIDS and sexuality, mainly at GAYa NUSANTARA Foundation ( and APCOM Foundation ( and the Coalition for Sexual & Bodily Rights in Muslim Societies (CSBR; He finished his doctorandus in English language teaching at the Surabaya and Malang Teachers Colleges (1975, 1978) and his Master’s and Doctorate in linguistics and Southeast Asian studies at Cornell University (1982, 1984).