Portraying the Multitudes: Representation of Identities of Sexual Minorities on Indonesia-Based Feminist Web Magazine Magdalene.co

Representation of Identities of Sexual Minorities on Indonesia-Based Feminist Web Magazine Magdalene.co

  • Puji Maharani SOAS, University of London



This paper aims to interrogate the representation of identities of sexual minorities, also known as LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer), on Magdalene.co, an Indonesia-based feminist web magazine which provides a slanted guide to women and issues and offers and engages with fresh perspectives beyond traditional gender and cultural confines. The representation of sexual minorities is observed through a selection of six published articles written by editorial members and from contributors’ submissions, varying in age, gender, self-identification as sexual minorities, and degree of anonymity. The articles are analysed via discourse analysis, primarily based on discourse theory by Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe. Also, incorporated into the analysis are Adrienne Rich’s theory of politics of location to look at bodies of sexual minorities, and Gilbert Herdt’s(2009) concept of sexual panic to look at the increasing religious-conservatism in Indonesia in contrast to the sexuality of sexual minorities. Through this research, I aim to examine the ways in which the representation of sexual minorities in the media opens a space of resistance against heteronormative public discourse.


Abdelwahab Bouhdiba, (Alan Sheridan, trans.) Sexuality in Islam (Los Angeles: Saqi Books, 1998)Downtown Boy (pseudonym), “Muslim and Gay: 10 Facts You May Not Know About Us” Magdalene.co (16 January 2014) online: http://www.magdalene.co/news-82-muslim-and-gay-%E2%80%93-10-facts-you-may-not-know-about-us.html.

Adrienne Rich “Notes towards a Politics of Location” in Adrienne Rich, Blood, Bread, and Poetry: Selected Prose 1979-1985 (London: Little Brown & Co, 1984) 210-231.

Andrew K. T. Yip and Amna Khalid, “Looking for Allah: Spiritual Quests of Queer Muslims” in Kath Browne, Sally R. Munt, and Andrew K. T. Yip, Queer Spiritual Spaces: Sexuality and Sacred Places (Farnham: Routledge, 2010)
Anne Fausto-Sterling, Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality (New York: Basic Books, 2000).

Ayunda Nurvitasari, “SGRC UI Offers Help for LGBT Youth Going Through Hard Time”, Magdalene.co (25 January 2016), online:http://www.magdalene.co/news-684-sgrc-ui-offers-help-for-lgbt-youth-going-through-hard-time.html.

Caroline Ramazanoglu & Janet Holland, Feminist Methodology: Challenges and Choices (London: SAGE Publications Ltd., 2002)

Chantal Mouffe “Feminism, citizenship and radical democratic politics” in Chantal Mouffe and James Martin, ed, Chantal Mouffe: hegemony, radical democracy, and the political (London: Routledge, 2013)

Chantal Mouffe “Hegemony and New Political Subjects: Towards a new concept of democracy” in James Martin, ed, Chantal Mouffe: Hegemony, radical democracy, and the political New York: Routledge, 2013 (1988))

Christopher Pullen, Gay Identity, New Storytelling and the Media (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009)

David Lauter, “Analysis on the news pages” LATimes.com (13 August 2011), online: http://articles.latimes.com/2011/aug/13/opinion/la-le-postscript-debt-ceiling-news-an20110813.

Dennis Altman, Global Sex (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001)

Devi Asmarani, “First Year’s a Charm: An Anniversary Note” Magdalene.co (13 November 2014), online: http://magdalene.co/news-278-first-year%E2%80%99s-a-charm-an-anniversary-note.html.

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Downtown Boy (pseudonym), “Keeping it Real in the Closet” Magdalene.co (18 July 2014), online: http://magdalene.co/news-205-keeping-it-real-in-the-closet.html.

Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, Hegemony and Socialist Strategy. Towards a Radical Democratic Politics (London: Verso, 1985).

Evelyn Blackwood, “Transnational Sexualities in One Place: Indonesian Readings” in Evelyn Blackwood and Abha Bhaiya, eds, Comparative Feminist Studies: Women's Sexualities and Masculinities in a Globalizing Asia (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007)

Fedina S. Sundaryani, “Commission wants TV, radio free of LGBT” The Jakarta Post (14 February 2016), online: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2016/02/14/commission-wants-tv-radio-free-lgbt.html.

Gilbert Herdt “Moral Panics, Sexual Rights, and Cultural Anger” in Gilbert Herdt, ed, Moral Panics, Sex Panics (New York: New York University Press, 2009).

Hera Diani, “Religious Resurgence in Indonesia Alarming: Muslim Scholar” Magdalene.co (20 June 2016), online: http://www.magdalene.co/news-843-religious-resurgence-in-indonesia-alarming-muslim-scholar.html.

Hermanus J. de Graaf, “South-East Asian Islam to the Eighteenth Century”, in P.M. Holt et al., eds, The Cambridge History of Islam Vol. 2A (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1970)

Ian Rivers & Richard Ward, Out of the Ordinary: Representations of LGBT Lives (Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012)

Jacob Torfing, New Theories of Discourse: Laclau, Mouffe, and Zizek (Oxford and Malden: Blackwell, 1999)

Janice M. Irvine, “Transient Feelings: Sex Panics and the Politics of Emotions” in Gilbert, Herdt, ed, Moral Panics, Sex Panics (New York: New York University Press, 2009)

Jason Cromwell, Transmen and FTMs: Identities, Bodies, Genders, and Sexualities (Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1999)

Katherine Sender (2011) ‘No Hard Feelings: Reflexivity and Queer Affect in the New Media Landscape’ in Karen Ross, ed., The Handbook of Gender, Sex and Media (Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011)

Kathryn Robinson, Gender, Islam and Democracy in Indonesia (Abingdon and New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis e-library, 2008). See also Robert W. Hefner, Civil Islam: Muslims and Democratization in Indonesia (Princeton: Princeton University Press. 2011)

Khrisna Sen and David T. Hill, eds, Politics and the Media in Twenty-First Century Indonesia: Decade of Democracy (London and New York: Routledge, 2010).

Magdalene “Ask Madge: Coming Out to Parents” Magdalene.co (11 May 2015), online: http://www.magdalene.co/news-384-coming-out-to-parents.html.

“Magdalene, A Slanted Guide to Women and Issues” Magdalene.co (undated), online: http://magdalene.co/static-1-aboutus.html.

Marianne W. Jørgensen & Louise Phillips, Discourse Analysis as Theory and Method (London, Thousand Oaks, and New Delhi: SAGE Publications Ltd., 2002)

Mario Rustan, ‘The LGBT Scare and Indonesia’s Culture War”, Magdalene.co (7 March 2016), online: http://www.magdalene.co/news-722-the-lgbt-scare-and-indonesia%E2%80%99s-culture-war.html.

Martin van Bruinessen, ed, Contemporary Developments in Indonesian Islam: Explaining the “Conservative Turn (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 2013)

Melissa M. Wilcox, “Outlaws or In-Laws? Queer Theory, LGBT Studies, and Religious Studies” in Karen E. Lovaas, John P. Elia, and Gust A. Yep, eds, LGBT Studies and Queer Theory: New Conflicts, Collaborations, and Contested Terrain (Binghamton: Harrington Park Press, 2013)

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Monika Arnez, “A Dialogue with God? Islam and Lesbian Relationships in Two Post-Suharto Narratives” in Susanne Schröter, ed, Gender and Islam in Southeast Asia: Women’s Rights Movements, Religious Resurgence and Local Traditions (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2013)

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Nira Yuval-Davis, The Politics of Belonging: Intersectional Contestations (Los Angeles and London: Sage, 2011)
Paramita Mohamad, “Of Cats and Women: Resisting Lesbian Clichés”, Magdalene.co (16 January 2014), online: http://www.magdalene.co/news-80-of-cats-and-women-resisting-the-lesbian-clich%C3%A9s.html.

Rachel Rinaldo, Mobilizing Piety: Islam and Feminism in Indonesia (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013)

Robert A. Rhoads, Coming Out in College: The Struggle for a Queer Identity (Westport: Bergin & Garvey, 1994)
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Sebastian Hoffmann and Miriam A. Locher, “Constructing the identity of an advice-giver in an American internet advice column” in Text and Talk, vol 26, no. 1, (2006)

Sharyn Graham Davies Gender Diversity in Indonesia: Sexuality, Islam and Queer Selves (Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2010)

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Sharyn Graham Davies, “Surveilling sexuality in Indonesia” in Linda Rae Bennet & Sharyn Graham Davies, eds, Sex and sexualities in contemporary Indonesia (London: Routledge, 2015)

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Susanne Schröter, ed, Gender and Islam in Southeast Asia: Women’s Rights Movements, Religious Resurgence and Local Traditions (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2013)

The Grand Dark Witch (pseudonym), “Confession of a Trans Woman” Magdalene.co (2 May 2016), online: http://www.magdalene.co/news-780-confession-of-a-trans-woman-.html.

Tom Boellstorff, “Zines and Zones of Desire: Mass-Mediated Love, National Romance, and Sexual Citizenship in Gay Indonesia” in The Journal of Asian Studies (63, no. 2, 2004)

Tom Boellstorff, The Gay Archipelago: Sexuality and Nation in Indonesia (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005).

Tom Boellstorff, “Between Religion and Desire: Being Muslim and Gay in Indonesia” in American Anthropologist (107, no. 4, 2005)

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Vanessa Baird, No-Nonsense Guide to Sexual Diversity (Oxford: New Internationalist Publications, 2007)

Yik Koon Teh “Politics and Islam Factors Determining Identity and the Status of Male-to-Female Transsexuals in Malaysia” in Fran Martin & Peter A. Jackson, eds., AsiaPacifiQueer: Rethinking Genders and Sexualities (Baltimore, US: University of Illinois Press, 2008, pp. 85-98)
How to Cite
MAHARANI, Puji. Portraying the Multitudes: Representation of Identities of Sexual Minorities on Indonesia-Based Feminist Web Magazine Magdalene.co. Journal of Southeast Asian Human Rights, [S.l.], v. 2, n. 2, p. 358-388, dec. 2018. ISSN 2599-2147. Available at: <https://jurnal.unej.ac.id/index.php/JSEAHR/article/view/5645>. Date accessed: 25 june 2024. doi: https://doi.org/10.19184/jseahr.v2i2.5645.

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