The emergence of political homophobia in Indonesia: Masculinity and national belonging

Tom Boellstorff*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

127 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper explores an unprecedented series of violent acts against 'gay' Indonesians beginning in September 1999. Indonesia is often characterized as 'tolerant' of homosexuality. This is a false belief, but one containing a grain of truth. To identify this grain of truth I distinguish between 'heterosexism' and 'homophobia,' noting that Indonesia has been marked by a predominance of heterosexism over homophobia. I examine the emergence of a political homophobia directed at public events where gay men stake a claim to Indonesia's troubled civil society. That such violence is seen as the properly masculine response to these events indicates how the nation may be gaining a new masculinist cost. In the new Indonesia, male-male desire can increasingly be construed as a threat to normative masculinity, and thus to the nation itself.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)465-486
Number of pages22
JournalEthnos
Volume69
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2004
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The emergence of political homophobia in Indonesia: Masculinity and national belonging'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this