7.8. Using Naratives as Strategy for LGBT Inclusion

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Made Mastianta (Universitas Budi Luhur)


This paper explores the possibility of using personal experience narratives to examine the master narrative of religious, heteronormative identity and its counter narrative of religious, non-heteronormative identity. The analysis on the telling of a sexual story is made by comparing two different narratives from two personalities: first, a self-proclaimed religious, gay activist and second, a former gay celebrity whose newfound spirituality led him to become a married heterosexual and a mualaf (converted Muslim). Using mainly texts from the conservative media and more liberal media, I argue that the master narrative privileged by the conservative majority characterizes a man’s fulfilled life may only be achieved with conformity to a religious heteronormativity. This is evident in the championing of the path to righteousness in the more religious, conservative media. On the other hand, the counter narrative characterizing that one can also fulfill life as a religious gay is considered to be incongruent and a subversion of the master narrative, therefore it received a negative valuation. This counter narrative is mainly circulated among the more liberal media. Silencing the voice of the minority and preventing this counter narrative to challenge the dominant narrative has remained the practice to limit the participation of the gay minority in the wider Indonesian population. This paper highlights the potential use of narrative analysis to inform readers on the negotiation of religious, non-heteronormative identity in modern Indonesia.

Keywords: narrative analysis, master and counter narratives, religious sexual identity, telling sexual stories