7.10. Visibility Dilemma of Being Transmen at Work

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Gabriella Devi Benedicta (Universitas Indonesia)


In comparison with transgender women/waria, the exploration issue of visibility among transgender men (transmen) in Indonesia is underrepresented. Drawing from the perspectives of young transmen individuals, this article examines how they encounter sexual inequality in the workplace through in-depth interviews with young transmen in Jakarta and Bekasi. This study shows young transmen face challenges to transition from female to male. They experience their transitions in a variety of ways; only socially, only hormonally or combination of hormonal transition and surgery with different consequences in different social spheres. Some of them experience sexual inequality experience in the workplace because their appearances were not appropriate with their gender designation on national ID. National ID accurately reflecting one’s gender identity and it becomes very important to define gender roles at work. Some of them finally decided to change their job from formal sector to informal sector within the dilemma of visibility to avoid sexual inequality experiences at work as a way to negociate their gender identity among transmen. I argue that the visibility status and gender identity of young transmen depend on how they deal with the social construction in their everyday lives.

Keywords: transmen, gender identity, social construction, sexual inequality