Back to top

Shinta Ratri

Pondok Pesantren Waria

Shinta Ratri is a Muslim transwoman (waria) who co-founded the Pondok Pesantren Waria, an Islamic boarding house for trans individuals based in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, the world’s only Islamic boarding house for transgender people. Pesantren Waria is a powerful and innovative Islamic boarding house created by and for trans persons. It accommodates the needs of trans individuals and creates a safe space for them to practice their religion and be who they are. Since 2016 there has been a marked increase in the severity and persistence of anti-LGBT+ rhetoric in Indonesia which has resulted in the LGBT+ community being the target of attacks. The boarding house was targeted by a mob and forced to close temporarily.

The Indonesian archipelago is home to myriad cultures, some of which have historically
recognised diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. However, discrimination against
LGBT+ individuals has persisted for years in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, and
conditions for the LGBT+ community have deteriorated steadily since January / February 2016
when anti-LGBT+ statements ranging from the absurd to the apocalyptic echoed through
Indonesia’s media.


2019 Front Line Defenders Asia Regional Award - Shinta Ratri, Indonesia