The Value of Transgender: Waria Affective Labor for Transnational Media Markets in Indonesia

Benjamin Hegarty

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    The globalization of transgender and its relationship to human rights has been accompanied by increased media interest in those so identified around the world. In Indonesia, this mostly involves the representation of male-to-female transgender-identified waria. While most mass media representations do portray them in narrow terms as the victims of violence, this does not undermine the value of transgender for waria. Seeing interaction with massmedia in economic terms, many waria charge money for interviews and other media appearances. This article describes how waria understand affective labor for transnational mass media markets. They do so in terms of the historically understood association between work and visible claims for national belonging and recognition in Indonesia. Although such possibilities are situated in a context characterized by inequality, waria do consider the global scope of transgender to be of value as a way to expand their claims. A perspective that analyzes the circulation of transgender as it relates to global political economy helps clarify how the category produces uneven forms of value as it encounters diverse national and local contexts. Keywords: waria, Indonesia, affective labor, mass media, political economy
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)78-95
    JournalTSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


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