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    Waria pride flag.

    Waria is a third gender within Indonesia defining an AMAB person who presents femininely or as a woman. It is roughly equivalent to a transgender woman, however very few waria individuals decide to medically transition due to religious beliefs or lack of interest to do so, and many experience very little dysphoria, at least socially, due to cultural interaction.

    History and Discrimination

    Indonesia has a long and complicated history when it comes to tolerance and acceptance of warias. Spanish ethnologist Miguel Covarrubias expressed surprise upon discovering Bali’s transgender community back in 1937, before the term was even coined. Further stories of warias date even further back in Indonesian history.

    Despite some apparent acceptance, warias continue to fight against violence and discrimination toward their community. While warias are visible daily on national television and on the streets of many cities, most have to live hidden and dangerous lives in the back alleys of villages and cities nationwide. Their lives are often defined by a lottery of location, where they can live either in celebration or condemnation.

    Local reports show that attacks on waria individuals and community gatherings continue to rise. Though their societal influence runs deep, warias are still deemed shameful to families in Indonesia’s less tolerant communities. This shame comes to a head when warias are exiled by their families, committed as outcasts, and frequently forced into prostitution. For every waria that experiences acceptance, there are more that are destitute. Stories of being stripped, having their heads shaved, and being chased and beaten are more commonplace than those celebrating their cultural influence.

    Despite the increasing acts of discrimination, warias are not invisible members of society by any means. Prominent waria icons like Dorce Gamalama are seen hosting talk shows and acting and singing on television, while individuals like Mama Yuli, who became the first waria to gain a master’s degree in law, has been at the forefront of nationwide lobbying for equality. Most modern cities such as Jakarta, Denpasar, and Yogyakarta have bars and cabarets that are packed every night with crowds awaiting to see their favourite warias perform. An old age home and even a mosque for warias have been constructed, fighting off scrutiny and backlash in an effort to provide community-wide support. As widespread tolerance of warias increases, acceptance is only impending.

    However, another issue waria inividuals do indeed face is finding lasting love due to mainstream media often portraying warias as "buffoons" or "sexual deviants." This issue is touched on in the 2011 movie "Tales of the Waria."

    Flag

    The first known Waria pride flag was created on June 12th 2021, by wiki user WiiFyneLM and originally uploaded to Pixilart.com. Red represents courage and blood like on the Indonesian flag. Black represents lives lost due to the mistreatment of Waria in Indonesia. Pink represents femininity. Gold represents preciousness as well as jewellery worn in Indonesia. Brown represents Waria's long history in the nation. White represents purity and spirit like in the Indonesian flag. The red and white represents the wholeness of a person.

    Etymology

    The term is a portmanteau that combines the Indonesian words for a woman (wanita) and a man (pria).

    Resources

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