Migration and Family Relationships: the Case of “Gay Indonesia” in Paris

Wisnu Adihartono
Working paper searc • September 2014 Indonesia


State and national identity are formed on the basis of mutual unification of thoughts and ideas through the process of representation and social imagination. Through these two processes, people determine what is good and not good, including the issue of homosexuality. There is a “sexual script” in which sexuality is produced, shared, and enforced as a social norm and made a blueprint for correct behaviour. Many Indonesians consider homosexuality abnormal and against religion. Homosexuals in Indonesia have little or no power and limited legal access to fight for their rights. In the end, in order to survive, they are forced to hide their sexual orientation, or in extreme cases, they move to other countries. As long as these push factors do not change, migration will become the “natural way” for them to avoid being mistreated. Because the Indonesian state has been unwilling or unable to ensure and protect the basic human rights of its citizens, I consider the migration of Indonesian gays to be a state failure. Drawing on face-to-face interviews with Indonesian gays who live in Paris, this paper examines why they decided to migrate to there.. It also looks into whether they maintain relationships with their family back in Indonesia and the main features of such relationships. Using qualitative methodology, this paper will introduce some of their narratives.


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