Rampa is used as the title of this publication to refer to the personal and organizational stories shared by GMT (Gay, MSM &
Transgender) communities in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines in responding to HIV and AIDS and other challenges.
Rampa is a word from the gay lingo used in the Philippines. According to Jay Arian C Caparida, the President of Peer Ed ME -
PAMAQC, Rampa means ‘to have a group of friends to go to different places together’ or in other words, hang-out with buddies.
The term rampa also means to show off or sashay while walking. The term may have been derived from the English word ‘ramp’, a
runway for fashion shows, hence the meaning.
The concept of community involvement in improving health outcomes is based on the
principle that if affected communities are actively involved in initiatives that affect their health,
better health outcomes are often achieved. This is because of the observation that members
of communities often protect and support their other members. Communities of patients and
other “affected and vulnerable groups” are acknowledged universally as important partners
towards maximizing the reach and impact of health systems. This is particularly true for HIV-
AIDS, a disease that affects predominantly young MSMs and Transgenders in the South East
Asian Region. Since MSM and TG communities are often hidden and difficult to reach because
of the social stigma attached to homosexual behaviors or identity, it is essential to involve
MSM and TG communities in national HIV-AIDS responses (GFATM Community Systems
Strengthening, 2011). This clearly goes beyond providing services and usual interventions.
Community-Based Organizations or CBOs, and their networks, have a unique role and ability to
interact with those who are affected in their communities. They are a valuable resource as they
can respond quickly to their own needs and engage better with the affected and vulnerable
groups. Indeed, local CBOs provide the key link in HIV prevention and control. Without the
communities being actively involved from prevention to treatment, national and even regional
responses to HIV-AIDS could not be as effective.
According to the Community Systems Strengthening document of the GFATM (2011),
“To have a real impact on health outcomes, however, community organizations and their
members must have effective and sustainable systems in place to support their activities and
services. This includes a strong focus on capacity building of human and financial resources,
with the aim of enabling community actors to play a full and effective role alongside the
health, social welfare, legal and political systems.”
One such initiative is the ISEAN-Hivos Program , a Global Fund Round 10 Community
Systems Strengthening (CSS) HIV and AIDS project that works with local partners and MSM-TG
communities in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Timor Leste. Under this 5-year
program, CBO Capacity building is provided through a series of trainings and organizational
development activities. Beyond the numbers of people trained, the success of the project may
be better reflected through the stories of the participants and the CBOs themselves. To
facilitate the qualitative documentation of the changes that have occurred due to the capacity
building interventions provided, the ISEAN-Hivos Team embarked on this task. In-country
Workshops were conducted adopting the a variation of the “Most Significant Change Story
Technique” or MSC. MSC is a method of participatory monitoring and evaluation developed by
Dr. Rick Davies and colleagues more than 15 years ago. This approach is being used in many
settings globally as a qualitative documentation strategy and a tool for monitoring and
Based on the written narratives shared by CBO members who attended writing
workshops organized by the Program and in partners in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines,
this compilation of stories provides the point of view and experiences of the MSM and TG
communities. Aside from documenting stories, this publication may also be used as a resource
for further researches, advocacy and providing education on MSMs and TGs experiences in
various contexts. The stories in this publication reflect how MSM and transgender
communities in the three countries rise above the challenges and help themselves and their
peers. It is hoped that their stories of struggle, challenge, encouragement and achievement
provide a deeper understanding of the group and new perspectives to whoever reads it. CBOs
are also hoped to be inspired by the narratives so that they too, continue documenting their
experiences and share their stories with others.
The Rampa Publication Team and Partners wish to thank everyone who participated in
this multi-country initiative in documentation stories from community based organizations.
Still, more stories remain unheard and need to be told. This will be the next challenge to all of
Coming together is a beginning.
Keeping together is progress.
Working together is success.
- Henry Ford
Communities are a critical stakeholder in any effort to tackle sexual health, human rights
and other development issues. Yet communities are often denied self-determination and the
opportunity to make its diverse voices heard.
The ISEAN-Hivos Program (IHP), supported by the Global Fund 1
, with assistance from
and the United Nations Development Programme Asia-Pacific Regional Centre
, is focused improving prevention, care, treatment and support for males who
have sex with males (MSM) and transgender people, two groups most-affected by HIV in Indo-
nesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Timor Leste. A guiding principle for IHP has been that sus-
tained, positive outcomes in public health and human right will be maximized by strengthening
the ability of community-based organizations (CBOs) and leaders to be able to stand and serve
Following is a compilation of stories of significant change observed by community partic-
ipants in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines over the two years since the beginning of IHP
in October 2011, these stories are from members of CBOs who share how they feel and see the
changes that have occurred in recent years. This compilation is a product of an IHP activity that
facilitated CBOs to document their experiences using a methodology localized and adapted
from the Most Significant Change (MSC) Technique4
developed by Dr. Rick Davies and Dr. Jes-
sica Dart. This technique enables the documentation and storytelling process to be enhanced
with skills-building in basic research and data collection. CBOs were assisted in their process by
local journalists, consultants and graphic designers.
RAMPA shows both the vulnerability and strength of individuals and communities of sex-
ual and gender minorities most-at risk of HIV in the three countries. These narratives play a vi-
tal role in promoting civic participation and peer support to tackle the many issues that MSM
and transgender people face in each country, especially regarding access to health, protection
from discrimination and stigma, and also violence. These issues have manifested differently
across the three countries, however the impact at the community-level is strikingly similar.
RAMPA attempts to contrast the state of the community participation before and after the
commencement of IHP.
The stories from RAMPA tell us that CBOs and community leaders have a key role in ad-
vocating for better health, protection from discrimination and equality before the law. This
serves as compelling evidence of the need to maintain support for capacity-building of CBOs
and community leaders so that they can scale-up their positive contributions to society. Our
network is committed to continuing its work with community networks and strategic partners
at the regional, national and local level to address the inequities that exist, while promoting
health and social protection for those living with, and most-at-risk of HIV.
Islands of Southeast Asia Network on Male and Transgender Sexual Health (ISEAN)
1 The Global Fund to Fight
AIDS, Tuberculosis and
Malaria is the world largest
donor of public health
4 The ‘Most Significant
Change’ (MSC) Technique, A
Guide to Its Use by Rick
Davies and Jess Dart; April
Indonesia at a Glance 2
Standing on The Thorns of Syaria
by Violet Grey — Aceh
My Enemy, My Ally
by Gaya Lentera Muda (GAYLAM) — Lampung
Fabulous Drag, Existance through Art and Culture
by Gaya Lare Osing (Gaya Laros) — Banyuwangi
by Gaya Lare Osing (Gaya Laros) — Banyuwangi
My Second Family
by Himpunan Waria Batam (HIWABA) — Batam
Sweet Twinks Twenties
by GWL-Muda — Jakarta
The Condom Ambassador
by GWL Kawanua — Manado
From Brass to Gold
by Srikandi Pasundan— Bandung
Shelter of Hope
by Keluarga Besar Waria Yogyakarta (KEBAYA) — Yogyakarta
VCT? Bring it on!
by Gaya Patriot — Bekasi
The Power of Youth
by Gaya Lentera Muda (GAYLAM) — Lampung
Independent Srikandi from Pasundan
by Srikandi Pasundan — Bandung
40 The Philippines at a Glance
by Peer Educators Movement for Empowerment of Pasay, Manila,
Caloocan and Quezon City (PAMACQ) — Metro Manila
VCT on Wheels
by Cebu Plus Association, Inc — Cebu
Reaching Beyond Borders: Advocacies Extending to Davao Region’s
by Mindanao AIDS Advocates Association, Inc (MAAI) — Mindanao
STRAP on Its Way to Health: A Transgender Right
by Society of Transsexual Women of The Philippines — Metro Manila
HIV Advocacy Turns Sexy: The Love Yourself Project Indulge
by The Love Yourself, Inc — Metro Manila
Targeting 95% of Adherence in ARV Medication
by Pinoy Plus Association, Inc; Metro Manila
The Wellness Lounge
by Cebu Plus Association, Inc (Cebu)
Winning the Battle Against Discrimination
by Transgender Coalition for the Liberation of the Reassigned Sex
(COLORS), Inc — Cebu
Malaysia at a Glance 75
by Singalang Charity Association (SCHA) — Sarawak
by Pertubuhan Advokasi Masyarakat Terpinggir (PAMT)
— Negeri Sembilan, Kuala Lumpur, Selangor
by Family Health Association — Kedah
The Future of Chinese MSM
by KL Light — Kuala Lumpur
Me, Then and Now
by Cahaya Harapan — Kedah
Mirror, Mirror – The Zai’s Story
by Pertubuhan Advokasi Masyarakat Terpinggir (PAMT)
— Negeri Sembilan, Kuala Lumpur , Selangor
My Journey Is Not Yet Over
by Komited Malaysia — Pahang
It All Begins Here
by Family Health Association — Kedah
Network, SR, CBOs INDONESIA 101
Network, SR CBOs The Philippines 107
Network, SR, CBOs Malaysia 117
About ISEAN, ISEAN-HIVOS 125
Regional Partners 127
at a glance
Indonesia, a country with a population of 237.5 million in 2010 has an estimated
HIV prevalence of 0.27% among the 15-49 years age group1
. Indonesia’s HIV and AIDS
epidemic is concentrated amongst key affected population resulting from a mix of two
modes of transmission- sexual transmission and drug injecting.
The cumulative number of reported HIV infections in Indonesia has risen sharply
from 7,195 in 2006 to 76,879 by 20112
. According to the 2009 national estimates of HIV
infection, about 186,257 people were infected with HIV and 6.4 million people were at
In the past 2 years, the commitment of the Government of Indonesia to respond
effectively to the epidemic and to reach national and international 1 PWID, sex workers
(male, female and transgender), men who have sex with men, high risk men, and
prisoners targets has also been reflected at the regional level. The occasion of the 19th
ASEAN Summit in November 2011 was used to mobilize Heads of State/Government of
the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to declare their commitment towards “an
ASEAN with Zero New HIV Infections, Zero Discrimination and Zero HIV Related
Deaths” by 2015.
Coverage of some categories of key affected populations is now approaching
the national target. In 2011, the NAC (National AIDS Commission) recorded that over
two thirds of direct Female Sex Workers (FSW) and transgender people had been
reached by interventions as well as between one to two thirds of indirect FSW. One
indicator also relates to behavior e.g. the percentage of people reporting condom use
at last sex. The FSW, transgender and MSM groups have all met at least one of the
. The rising numbers of condoms distributed to key affected
population suggests improvements in condom availability, acceptability, and use. On
the other hand, less than one third of men who have sex with men (MSM) and high risk
men have been reached5
1 MoH, Mathematic Model of HIV
Epidemic in Indonesia 2008-2014
2 MoH, Year end Report on Situation
of HIV and AIDS in Indonesia, 2006
3 MoH, Estimation of at-risk Adult
4 MoH, IBBS, 2011
5 NAC, Program Monitoring, 2011
[Executive Summary of
Republic Indonesia Country Report
on The Follow Up To The Declaration
of Commitment On HIV/AIDS by
Indonesian National AIDS
Urban Centered BCC Strategy Development Regional Consultation
Jakarta, June 2012
It’s a story about a land.
A land with privilege for them … but not for us
Violet Grey — Aceh
t was a Tuesday evening in April, the sun was slowly setting in Aceh. The time is
now 4:00 PM. At VG — Violet Grey’s office, in Lamlagang, Banda Aceh, nine
people were still engaged in a discussion even though the day is getting late.
Cipi was at the “center” of the discussion. She is a “shemale”, a transgender
person. She was beaten up and suffered from serious injuries and was unconscious.
The case of Cipi is a bleak portrait of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)
community members in Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam. Cipi was not the only
transgender who experienced this kind of physical violence. Most transgender people
in the area experienced various forms of violence as well.
Many discussions around LGBTs are often held at VG, an LGBT organization in
that province. In addition to Cipi’s case, the discussion also focused on what
happened to Cut Sherly, a 28 years old TG, living in Banda Aceh. Cut Sherly is an
entrepreneur. She owns and runs a beauty salon in the city of Banda Aceh. Besides
running a business, she is also active as a coordinator of TG organization called Putroe
Sejati Aceh (PSA).
Cut Sherly is a living witness on how Aceh can be a “hell on earth” for LGBT
groups. “Beaten, molested, expelled and permitted to be killed are common things
we experience or hear about in our daily lives. It is as common as eating rice in our
daily meals”, said her. It is still fresh in her mind when a group of people entered into
her salon two months ago. They confronted her and accused her of doing immoral
activities within her premises. Her feelings were a mixture of anger, sadness and fear.
She had to go through all these in spite of the fact that she did nothing. The time then
was 02.00 AM. She was sleeping alone in her salon. It is very common for members
of PSA community to experience similar situations. There will always be reasons for
others to threaten them. Often these are silly reasons, illogical and with no valid
PSA was initiated by VG. Initially PSA was only intended to help TGs get better
health access related to HIV and AIDS. But fighting solely for the rights to health was
not enough, because violence and discrimination happen not only in health care
settings but in all other aspect of their lives. Effective advocacy would need to include
knowledge and support for civil rights – the right to be equal under the law.
In spite of feeling hopeless due to the violence that she had experienced, Cut
Sherly explained that through the training activities conducted by VG, she learned
that everyone, including TGs like herself, have the right to be treated well, just like
Today, Cut Sherly performs the role of an advocate for her TG colleagues. She
also helps fight various cases involving TGs living with HIV.
Considering the number of violent events towards LGBT in Aceh, after
attending ISEAN-Hivos Training for Local CBO Staff on Institutional and Program
Development and Strategic Planning, VG is planning to raise the “pluralism issue” in
any workplan that involves TG and lesbians. “We take a strong consideration towards
these two groups since they are prone to violence because of their gender expression
that might be judged as a form of misconduct that is against Islamic syari’a,” said Edi
Saputra, Director of VG.
Approach to TGs organized through PSA and they are already having a strong
network among themselves. On the other hand, lesbians are being approached
on crucial things
such as how to
perform as a
good leader and
how to position
individually by the group due to the absence of a visible lesbian community in Aceh.
After the ISEAN-Hivos Training for Local CBO Staff on Community Leadership,
Governance and Mobilization, VG formed a new community network for lesbians in
Aceh under the management of VG. Atapku Aceh— which later changed its name into
Learning Together (LeTo).
As a newly formed community group, LeTo was managed by VG. In June 2012,
Ezer El-Fauzan, coordinator of LeTo, who led the organization since the beginning,
decided to resign and continue her study. The position was then replaced by Redsoul
Eqqy, a member who is new in coordinating community activities.
Eqqy admits that she learned a lot from VG especially in performing her new
tasks. She was trained by VG to become a coordinator of LeTo. In many activities
related to lesbians and women, VG always sends Eqqy to represent the organization.
“Before attending these meetings, VG’s staff members provide instant training on
needed skills such as how to perform as a good leader and how to position one’s self
in a forum or a meeting”, she explained.
VG also continuously conducts educational activities involving LeTo. Not only
Eqqy, but everyone at LeTo is given equal opportunities. They are expected to
someday be able to stand on their own, just like the other members of VG and PSA.
Today, VG has become a “parent” for the LGBT community in Aceh. It helps
protect community members and provides training and legal advice, including
discussions on security measures and what are considered as unfriendly in Aceh for
LGBT communities. PSA and LeTo wished that VG will remain to be a “home” for
LGBT in Aceh, a home where every issue and problem faced by LGBT is discussed and
MY ENEMY, MY ALLY
he full moon brightens Bandar Lampung that night. The sky was clear and
stars were clearly visible. In a corner of the city, at the Pasar Tengah area,
commonly called “Pasteng”, Asri Wijaya, who is often called “Oca”, is
preparing herself to go out. At 11 pm, this 23-year old transgender puts on
her accessories, red shoes, and a tight short dress that ends above her knee. Red
lipstick is smeared on her lips to match her shoes.
By the end of 2010, it has been eight years for Oca being in sex work. She
would often find customers easily at Pasteng. For her, the “Satuan Polisi Pamong
Praja” (SATPOL PP) siren is an unwelcome sound. “If I was hanging around Pasteng
in the past, I had to be ready to be arrested by SATPOL PP. I ran away… because if I
get caught by them, they would order me to do unpleasant things such as getting
“sometimes we have to perform oral sex in front of the
officers… it breaks my heart”, she said.
Gaya Lentera Muda (GAYLAM) — Lampung
naked, kissing other transgenders, and sometimes we have to perform oral sex in
front of the other officers… it breaks my heart”, she said.
That was Oca’s bitter life experience which she had to go through to earn some
money. The negative experiences are now in the past. Nowadays, it is all over and
there is no more violent raids, according to Oca. She can peacefully continue her
trade because SATPOL PP raids aren’t violent as it used to be. SATPOL PP are now
able to appreciate transgender people as human being. The SATPOL PP’s policy
towards transgenders has also changed. This makes Oca and her friends smile.
Currently, SATPOL PP no longer conduct raids targeting transgenders who carry
condoms. Now, they go after transgenders who don’t carry any condoms with them.
SATPOL PP’s policy change has led to lesser violent behaviors towards the
transgender community in the area. The current policy aims to support safer sexual
behaviors- from risky sexual behaviors which they have become accustomed to, into
“no-risk behaviors”. From not knowing into becoming aware of his or her HIV/AIDS
status, especially among members of the “Gay, Waria dan Lelaki
Sex Lelaki” (GWL) community. This policy change happened
primarily due to the hard work of “GAYA LANTERA MUDA
LAMPUNG” (GayLam), a GWL community organization that
provides support and help to community members in Lampung.
GayLam had no programs at the beginning. They just work
with the National Aids Commission (KPA) Lampung province and
not with other stakeholders. As time went by, GayLam has
improved. Their membership has increased and so did their
knowledge. Until finally, GayLam joined GWL-INA and developed
From this point on, GayLam became more active. Hence,
more opportunities were made available to them. GWL-INA
provided the group access to trainings conducted with the help of
the ISEAN-Hivos Program. GayLam was given an opportunity to receive new
knowledge and skills, one of them is on Strategic Planning. This training changed the
paradigm of GayLam personnel towards being more open minded. GayLam currently
has a strategic plan and a work program for its activities. These include information
dissemination, provision of information on Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) and
HIV-AIDS, outreach and assistance. They also provide referrals for STI service
provision, Voluntary Counseling and Testing/HIV test counseling (VCT) referral and
services, and working with organizations (national and international). These groups
Gaylam distributes condom for
include the GWL-INA and other development groups in each district/city in the
province of Lampung. They also implement the SMS Gateway Service Hotline
Program, Case Management Services, Assistance Group Training (Peer Educator),
Facebook Program (Gay Lampung) and Facebook group (Gay and other MSM in
Lampung). Moreover, they conduct condom distribution and development of
Information Education Communication Media, Sport entertainment and Edutainment,
Capacity building, Fundraising, and organize events.
Particularly in their advocacy program, GayLam collaborates with GWL-INA,
KPA Lampung province and the district/city government. GayLam advocates for
health-related initiatives, such as friendly transgender health services, VCT and ARV
examination. In addition, the group provides advocacy to key organizations such as
SATPOL PP to improve the welfare of affected communities.
Advocacy and networking activities will not be maximized without the
awareness of the community to practice low risk sexual behaviors. From the various
activities that GayLam does, its impact can be felt by friends at community. Jenita, a
transgender who likes to hang out at the Pasteng hotspot revealed that the presence
of GayLam makes transgender people feel comfortable. Jenita said “Now I feel safe
hanging out here because the SATPOL PP only accosts transgenders who do not carry
condoms and I feel happy because I can now be more secure when “selling” because
I would never do sex without a condom “No Sex, No Condom”. I am often engaged
by GayLam in activities such as HIV and AIDS discussion meetings. With the presence
of GayLam, our access to health care facilities is very easy. If I inform the Simpur clinic
that I am from GayLam community, access for health service becomes more open for
Advocacy programs will be continued by GayLam. These are envisioned to
encourage the community to fight for their needs, as well as combating stigma and
discrimination. GayLam continues to make progress internally and externally to
maintain good relations with all parties. The group will work towards developing
more “high-flying wings” to be able to help more people in need of GayLam. Now,
GayLam organization has more friends and supporters. GayLam now has human
resources that can be relied on for “Lampung GWL Empowerment”. This way GWL
Lampung will become more efficient and useful.
Gaylam outreach workers and
city council officer
SATPOL PP (Satuan Polisi
Lampung City Council Police
he way gay and transgender communities are recognized in Banyuwangi district today is
very different from the way things were ten years ago. ”This all began with the arts”, said
Subari Sofyan (50 years old), a gay man who is also a cultural observer.
Subari, a Gaya Laros member and one of the gay and transgender Banyuwangi community
figures, sees that Banyuwangi Ethno Carnival (BEC) as an opportunity to improve the level of
recognition of the local gay and transgender community. BEC is the highlight of the district’s rich
traditions and art culture.
Subari began to involve Gaya Lare Osing (Gaya Laros) and Ikatan Waria Banyuwangi (IWABA)
members to participate in BEC performing arts or in other events as Arts Ambassadors representing
the area. Gradually, the local government started to recognize the work of the members of Gaya
Laros and IWABA. The groups were also able to gain some recognition at the national and
“I always come to the show wherever it may
be. I want to be involved in the arts. ”
FABULOUS DRAG, EXISTENCE THROUGH ART AND CULTURE
Gaya Lare Osing (Gaya Laros) — Banyuwangi
Gaya Laros and IWABA are community-based organizations (CBOs) which aim to increase
community understanding of sexual health for the gay, transgender, and male-sex-with-men (GWL)
communities. The CBOs were established around 1996, with programs to conduct outreach and
mentoring on HIV/AIDS for gay and transgender community members. They also provide discussions
on Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), and conduct edutainment activities.
Gaya Laros initially stands as a collective community. However, the increase of HIV and AIDS cases,
an issue that affects the GWL in Banyuwangi encouraged the organization to be more active in this
area. Based on Banyuwangi Health Office’s data, as of March 2012, the total number of patients with
HIV/AIDS recorded were around 1,400. Included in this number are groups of gays and transgenders.
Using art as an entry point, Subari showed his concern in relation to the HIV problem that affects the
community. He also helped to fund activities on edutainment advocacy and participate in International AIDS Day
commemoration activities. He also sponsored gay and transgender individuals who received invitations for shows
locally and abroad.
A very significant change for the Gaya Laros and IWABA community is the increase of the level of their
economic empowerment and self-actualization. “I always come and attend the show wherever it is held… my
self existence and my creativity are being developed through my involvement in the arts” said Dede, a 22-year-old
gay person and a member of Gaya Laros. Additionally, Rendra Tirtana, also known as Ocha, a 25-year-old
transgender became part of the Banyuwangi Tourisms Office’s artistic team. They help prepare and coordinate
cultural shows for the district.
Through art, gay and transgender community members became closer to the regional governments. In
addition, part of their revenue from costume-making, are set aside to support social missions that prioritize gay
and transgender individuals who are infected with HIV and AIDS in Banyuwangi.
NGOs such as Gaya Laros and IWABA regularly participate in the annual dance festival. They often get a big
round of applause from the audience because of their performance. Their appearance is not inferior to the other
participants who are mostly women. They also often won dance festivals both at the district and the provincial
levels. One such achievement is being the national champion of the dance festival in 2011 through their Gandrung
Marsan dance performance. They are often invited as a featured performer in many other important events.
Apart from the variety shows at local level, Gaya Laros gets more opportunities to perform in a variety of
state activities. One of these is the Independence Day celebrations at the Presidential Palace, in which they have
performed for two years in a row. “This is a reward for us because this shows that GWL groups can have a
meaningful existence and contribute well to the benefit of other community members”, said Subari.
or Titin, the Blambangan hospital is like a second workplace. Titin, is a 33
year old transgender person who is also a make-up artist. She often
visited this health care center. She also dedicatedly accompanied her
friends to the clinic and assisted them to get medical services. “I have
become close friends with the doctors and nurses here,” said Titin.
If we look back at her condition before 1996, Titin’s close relationship with
healthcare provider at that hospital was very much different, “Back in the old days, I
could barely receive decent service from them. The doctor would refuse to even
just give her a health check-up. They would often prescribe medications without a
proper diagnosis. The truth was, I only wanted to know what has caused my
illness,” she said.
Another story was shared by Lalu, a gay guy who is also a friend of Titin’s.
Lalu recalls that things nowadays have changed compared to the way things were
in 1996. During that time, gay and TG community members didn't get much
Prior to 1996, the gay and TG community didn't get any attention from the
Department of Health and PHC. Gaya Laros and Banyuwangi Aids
Commission advocate for gay and TG’s health services in Banyuwangi.
Gaya Lare Osing (Gaya Laros) — Banyuwangi
attention from the Department of Health and PHC. Gaya Laros and Banyuwangi
Aids Commission advocated for gay and TG’s health services in the district of
Titin and Lalu are both volunteers at Gaya Laros, an organization focusing on
health issues, particularly on HIV and AIDS. There are several other Community
Based Organizations in Banyuwangi, including IWABA (Ikatan Waria Banyuwangi).
Gaya Laros and Iwaba are the two main organizations where gay and TG individuals
in the locality are gathered under one umbrella. They are actively involved in many
social activities, including HIV prevention in the Banyuwangi Regency.
Every year, the number of PLHIVs living in Banyuwangi is increasing.
According to data from the Department of Health of Banyuwangi, up to March 2012,
the number of HIV and AIDS cases had reached 1,400, some of them are gays and
TGs. To help further enhance their work on gay and TG community in areas such as
networking, Gaya Laros became a member of GWL-INA, Indonesia’s national
network of organizations working with MSM and TG communities.
As a follow up to the strategic planning leadership and training conducted by
GWL-INA and the ISEAN-HIVOS Program which they attended, Gaya Laros members
also held a discussion on STI, HIV and AIDS among their members and other
individuals By conducting such activity, they hope that members of their local gay
and TG community could become more aware and educated on the topic. Being
aware, they would know how to live a healthy life without HIV and STI infections
which previously they would simply ignore They wished that such socialization
activities won’t stop here. It is expected that the discussion will continue in other
districts and remote areas to support the wider gay and TG community.
As an outcome of the discussions, Gaya Laros agreed to facilitate a mobile
VCT and provide STI tests. They also formed a group of peer educators (PEs) and
volunteers in several regions in Banyuwangi. Gaya Laros hopes that in the future.
there will be a healthy and dynamic social environment for LGBTs in Banyuwangi.
Laros agreed to
VCT, provide STI
test and forming
group of peer
and volunteer in
The expensive cost of medical treatment makes her desperate.
“I’m better off dead rather than living like this”
My Second Family
Himpunan Waria Batam (HIWABA) — Batam
osi has been living in the dark for three months. She is a 40 years old
transgender, who has a negative view of the world. This started when she
developed blindness due to a toxoplasmosis infection that affected her
eyes. “It’s like being at the edge of death” according to Yosi. The
expensive cost of medical treatment makes her desperate. “I’m better off dead
rather than living like this”, she said.
Yosi comes from Lampung, but she has been plying the trade as a sex worker
in Jakarta since 1993. She also went to Batam in 1996, but her main goal was to work
in Malaysia. Being stubborn and independent, she initially thought that the
organization HIMPUNAN WARIA BATAM (HIWABA) was of no significance to her. Yosi
described herself as a wanderer who lives by a “live alone, die alone” principle. By
June, 2012, she suddenly fell ill. Yosi developed fever, diarrhea, as well as candidiasis
in her mouth. She decided to get treatment, but nothing can seem to cure her at that
Around August of that year, word spread among the transgender community
that a certain transgender named Yosi has fallen very ill. After seeking her consent,
the HIWABA management visited Yosi to talk to her and find out more about her
illness. Yosi shared with them that she suffers from a bad stomach disorder. She
already received treatments from everywhere but nothing seemed to work. Seeing
how bad Yosi’s condition is, the HIWABA management gave her the contact number
of a counselor. They also provided her the contact of HIWABA’s HIV case manager
whom she can call in case she decides to have a medical check-up or tests for STIs
On her own initiative, Yosi contacted the HIWABA recommended counselor
and the HIV case manager. She took an HIV antibody test, which came back with a
reactive result. Yosi found out that she is HIV-positive with a CD4 count of only 16.
This was way below normal values. Because of this, the doctor recommended Yosi to
immediately start taking antiretroviral medications (ARV) to suppress the virus inside
her body and help her get better . Two months after Yosi started taking ARV, she
developed a toxoplasmosis co-infection which can cause blindness. This situation
required the HIWABA case manager to bring Yosi to an ophthalmologist. The doctor
only gave her two options for treatment. Either Yosi had to raise her CD4 level up to
250 in 1 month and if she cannot do it, then she should undergo an injectable eye
treatment which was only available at the Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital in Jakarta.
This treatment would be too expensive for Yosi. However, HIWABA knows that
there is a possible funding from her social health insurance. This Jamkesos support
isn’t easy to get. HIWABA had to advocate to the Department of Health (DoH) and
Department of Social Welfare (DoSW), to be able to get support from JAMKESMAS
(to cover the medical expense) and JAMKESDA (to cover the transport and
accommodation) for Yosi’s treatment. HIWABA spent more than a month to
coordinate and prepare everything. After being unnecessarily made to go back and
forth or getting “ping-ponged” by the DoH and DoSW, HIWABA was finally able to
get the needed approvals and support from JAMKESMAS and JAMKESDA. When the
time to go to Jakarta came, one of the HIWABA staff, Angel Nasution, accompanied
Yosi. After four months of treatment, Yosi was slowly able to improve her vision. She
started to differentiate colors and regained more control of her life..
Assisting people in need like Yosi is one of the reasons why HIWABA was
Health (DOH) and
(DoSW), in order
to get support
(to cover the
(to cover the
established. There are several transgender persons other than Yosi who were also
assisted by the organization to access good healthcare. HIWABA was formally
established in 2005, through the initiative of Angel (Nikmattua Nasution), Bela
(Deaxel Sibarani), Ida Rusdi (Rusdi Harahap), Ling Bareta (Ecok). It was approved by
the Notary two years later.
Based on the 2012 mapping results, there are 536 transgender persons in
Batam. The 2012 estimation also indicated that there are around 140 transgenders
who are living with HIV. As of March 2013, records indicate that there are 200
transgenders in Batam and 70 of them were projected to be living with HIV.
From the above data, it can be concluded that the numbers of transgender
persons living with HIV are increasing. Overall, HIV has infected nearly 35% of the local
transgender population. There were many transgender people who went to Malaysia
and Singapore for work. But after some time, they were either deported due to being
infected by HIV or decided to come home on their own because of illness. This means
that Interventions are needed to promote prevention of HIV among these at-risk
There is similar case which happened to a member of the transgender
community in Batam. 20 years old Puspa, a transgender person from Java was
referred to the Budi Kemuliaan Hospital with a positive HIV status. Puspa, who was
very thin at 38 kg, had a CD4 count of only 195 and weight only 38 kg, felt hopeless,
because she does not have the local identification card (like in the case of many
transgenders in Indonesia), Puspa cannot receive free health care services and
treatment from the government. “The medical cost is expensive, and this discourages
me from going to the hospital and getting treated”, said Puspa.
HIWABA first heard of the case of Puspa after finding out from the TG
community that there was a young transgender who was very sick but nevertheless
got evicted out of her living space because she was not able to pay her rent.
HIWABA’s members arranged for her to be able to have temporary shelter. Aside
from this, HIWABA brought Puspa to Budi Kemuliaan Hospital as soon as possible as
her condition was getting worse. HIWABA acted as a guarantor so that Puspa can
obtain the necessary health care. When HIWABA found out that Puspa doesn’t have a
local ID card, HIWABA tried to ask for a domicile letter in order to get free health care
from JAMKESMAS for Puspa. After trying for some time, the Seraya Atas
Neighborhood Association was finally willing to give Puspa the letter. With the
residency letter on hand, HIWABA advocated to DoSW for JAMKESMAS and follow up
on Puspa’s discontinued treatment and care.
that there was a
is terribly ill and
evicted from her
place because she
cannot afford the
decided to move
Puspa to one of
residence in order
to give her
After three months, Puspa is finally healthy. Through HIWABA’s interventions,
Puspa slowly regained her weight. Her CD4 count also increased to 270 which was a
better figure than before. Aside from these, HIWABA helped find a job for Puspa at a
local restaurant. She started to resume her normal activities and regained a more
positive outlook in life.
Yosi and Puspa are just two of the many transgender people whose lives have
been touched by HIWABA and its members. A similar story than can be told is about
two friends named Evi bule (39 years old) and Rachel (37 years old). Both of them are
transgender persons from South Tapanuli, North Sumatera. Both suffered from a
stroke which caused paralysis in half of their bodies. Both of them are also HIV-
positive with very low CD4 counts. HIWABA first found out about Evi Bule and Rachel
after they were suddenly sent home from Malaysia due to their illness. On the day of
their arrival back in Indonesia, members of HIWABA picked them up at the Batam
Center Port. Evi Bukle and Rachel were then brought to the house of one of
HIWABA’s members where they temporarily stayed.
HIWABA once again encountered a situation where a very ill TG patient did not
have a local ID card. This made it hard for them to get free health care. Nevertheless,
some of the HIWABA members gave donations so Evi Bule and Rachel could be taken
to the hospital and get the treatments they needed. Because both of them were not
HIWABA members, there were other members who initially objected to the idea of
giving aid to non members. They thought that other transgenders who are not
members were not supposed to be their burden. However, other members continued
giving voluntary donations. This encouraged HIBAWA staff to immediately take Evi
and Rachel to the hospital.
Like in the case of Yosi and Puspa, HIWABA advocated to DoSW to getting the
JAMKESMAS (government medical insurance) facilities for Evi and Rachel under the
status of displaced patients, so they could undergo treatment and medication.
Luckily, the process that HIWABA went through to get the needed documents for the
two was faster than before, In less than one week, Evi bule and Rachel have received
their JAMKESMAS documents. Within three months of treatment, they recovered
fully and went back to their usual routines.
Aside from providing advocacy services, HIWABA members are also actively
building networks across Indonesia. HIWABA was involved in the Indonesian national
network such as GWL-INA since 2009. Furthermore, since 2012, HIWABA began to
participate in the capacity building activities organized by GWL-INA and ISEAN-HIVOS.
“This involvement has great influence on HIWABA to have a more effective
great impact on
HIWABA to have a
more division are
also formed”, said
organizational structure. More work divisions were also formed within the organization” , said Ade
Lodni, the Chair of HIBAWA.
HIWABA’s increasing work divisions were eventually able to reach out to more and more
transgender members in Batam. Being better coordinated with an efficient organizational structure,
more new members were enticed to join HIBAWA. Eventually, HIBAWA became an organization that
has a strong and credible reputation. It has become is widely recognized in their area and
acknowledged not only by the transgender communities but the local government, as well.
Joining capacity building activities has improved HIWABA’s ability to advocate with partners
and to empower transgenders in Batam. This also helps the TG community have a more accepted
presence in their locales. HIWABA strives to focus on the advocacy services. In places where there
are a lot of transgenders who cannot access medical care. HIWABA works towards promoting access
to such healthcare services. After attending advocacy and networking trainings, HIWABA is getting
stronger in coordinating with other agencies such as DoH, DoSW, Local AIDS Commission, and YGB
especially in activities related to prevent HIV/AIDS.
HIWABA continued developing its work programs, one of which is the health program. Other
areas developed was in the terms of advocacy and collaboration which is manifested in an MoU
(Memorandum of Understanding) between Forum LSM Peduli HIV dan AIDS (with HIWABA as one of
the members) and the City Health Department for HIV and STI’s check up. As for the CST, HIWABA
made a deal with the State Social Service to be able to provide hospital services to displaced patients.
Those MoUs and special agreements have been communicated to HIWABA members, so they can
themselves feel comfortable in accessing health services, if needed.
HIWABA also conducted informal discussions with health workers at the Community Health
Center related to transgender concerns, including how to better provide health care services to this
group. The group also held joint activities with the DoH in cooperation with YGB for their outreach
and mentoring programs. VCT and CST programs were also implemented in cooperation with Budi
Kemuliaan Hospital, while STIs and VCT programs were done in cooperation with DoSW through
Lubuk Baja primary healthcare service provider. For condom purchase subsidies, HIWABA cooperates
with the Local AIDS Commission in Batam. ”The Department of Social Welfare is already cooperating
with Jamsostek while the Department of Health cooperates with JAMKESDA”, said Angel.
In the future, HIWABA expects more transgender persons in Batam to join the organization so
their voices as individuals and as a group can be better heard, They also aim to improve their group
solidarity and be more organized in their activities. HIWABA also expects significant support and
cooperation with partner agencies to ensure that transgender’s health rights are protected and their
health further improved.
SWEET TWINKS TWENTIES
GWLmuda — Jakarta
It’s easier for me to find friends via
“manjam” in Jakarta
on’t always assume the negative impact of using internet-based media.
Indeed, Internet becomes a challenge for mobilizing young people in
Indonesia. In 2011, the number of Internet users in Indonesia is
dominated by 64 % young people aged 15-19 years old.
Then how is the situation for GWL youth group in Indonesia? I was discussing it
with a gay friend through social networking named Ridwan. I asked, “What impact do
you feel the most with Internet technology?, especially associated with Gays”. He
answered, “ The most dominant impact is, it’s easier to get information, all kind of
information. It’s easier for us to find sexual partners. This is the impact for people like
Ridwan, a 21-year-old gay, comes from Bontang and currently lives in Jakarta for
college. Ridwan said, although Internet technology has also been widely used in
Bontang, it’s still easier to get a sexual partner in Jakarta using this kind of
technology. ”It’s easier for me to find friends via “manjam” in Jakarta rather in
Bontang, because there is a lot more people who use “manjam” in Jakarta”, said
On the other hand, it is something to be worried about after seeing the HIV
case data in the youth GWL population. HIV prevalence among gay youth group aged
20-24 years is about 5%, 14% in the group of transgender adolescents, 22% for
gonorrhea prevalence in adolescent group, and 34 % in the transgender youth group
with same ages. Outreach workers had reached only 35% of these gay adolescent
groups. These numbers represents the lowest percentage when compared with other
adolescent groups population with same age.1
These challenges made GWLmuda to start an initiative to create an information
infrastructure that is intended for adolescents in Indonesia, mainly large cities using
internet-based media technology. This kind of infrastructure is intended to provide
comprehensive information for GWL adolescent related with being healthy behavior
and body development. In early 2012, the infrastructure was made and named
Brondongmanis: a website infrastructure that integrates with popular social media. It
uses fun approach and friendly contents for GWL adolescent to waive its scary
disease-based approach and makes them reluctant to read it.
Not long after the infrastructure was made, GWLmuda had an opportunity to
attend a workshop and consultation in developing Urban Centered BCC Regional
Strategy for GWL in the South East Asia nations organized by ISEAN-Hivos Program in
June 2012. The meeting output produced a strategic framework document for
GWLmuda input on strengthening the ICT communication infrastructure, especially in
developing effective content and messages for GWL adolescent group in Indonesia.
In the past year, over 12,000 unique visitors have visited Brondongmanis2
were followed by more than 3,000 subscribers3
every day through social media.
Brondongmanis become one of the favorite media and website recommended by
online gay community4
I interviewed a Brondongmanis loyal visitor to find out his reason to access it.
“Finally there is a website with “bahasa” language for gays that contains not merely
nude photos but also informative content which is needed”, said Zeffa, a
Brondongmanis loyal visitor who always follow its development through social media.
Zeffa, usually called Zeff is a 21-year-old teenager who is very active commenting and
providing input for Brondongmanis infrastructure strengthening.
1 UNICEF Secondary Analysis Disaggregated
Data for Most at Risk young people – 2009
2 Google Analytic
3 Facebook pages and Twitter analytic
4 @GayIndonesia is the biggest social media
for gay community in Indonesia
Unlike Zeff, Radhit, another young MSM, feels that the existence of Brondongmanis
is helpful because he could get friendly recommendations regarding health. ”At that
time, I read a reference about Procare clinic written on the Brondongmanis website.
The reference really fits with what I was looking for, so I went there”, said Radhit via
telephone interview. I even had the opportunity having a discussion with
Touchemagz owner, a media partner of Brondongmanis. He expressed his happiness
because there is now an alternative media for LGBT, especially young gay persons
that is not focused on pornographic content. On that occasion I also asked the reason
why he wants to be a Brondongmanis partner. His answer really gave a very critical
point, “Ultimately, we want to see a change, not only being the most accessible
website. It is important to have a collaboration with partners who has the same
goal”, he replied.
Both Zeffa and Radhit have the same expectations to popularize
Brondongmanis, and involve more youth participation in its development strategy.
Zeffa who often provides critical input for Brondongmanis, provides inputs on how
important their participation would be by giving a sense of ownership for the
“Through this activity GWL Kawanua provides empowerment and
considerable benefits for the crowned queen, prince and finalists of
the PPR Beauty Pageant”
The Condom Ambassador
GWL Kawanua — Manado
iara Vanessa Quiin, is a transgender person with Bachelor’s degree in Engineering who was
crowned as the Queen of GWL Kawanua 2010. Tiara is well known among the members of
GWL Kawanua community in North Sulawesi. Her achievements have inspired her other TG
friends. But of course, having getting those achievements was not easy. “It needs hard
work and loyalty to the organization,” said Cris Roy, Chairman of GWL Kawanua
The selection of Tiara as the Queen of GWL Kawanua was due to her artistic talent in dancing
as well as her very good public speaking skills. With those talents, Tiara always felt confident. She
recalled that it was in mid-2010 when she received information about the King and Queen of GWL
Kawanua Pageant (PPR). With no hesitation, Tiara registered for the contest.
GWL Kawanua is the organizing committee of the PPR. It was founded in 16th November 2009.
It’s inauguration was a big event, attended by community representatives from several cities in
North Sulawesi. Representatives from GWL-INA, the national network of MSM and TG
organizations in Indonesia were also present. The GWL Kawanua’s elected board
members include among others. Cris Lengkong Roy (Chairman), Feybi (vice
chairman), Samuel Rompas (Secretary) and Indra (Treasurer). "A year after being
formed, GWL Kawanua held the PPR in 2010 for the first time," said Cris
The PPR pageant garnered a lot of positive responses from others, including
friends from the gay, transgender and MSM community. Each year, the PPR has
continuously improved in terms of the quantity and quality of its participants,
materials for selection, and many other aspects. On its 3rd year (2012), the PPR event
had a total of 54 participants. 16 finalists were selected for the drag (Queen) category
and 8 finalists for the gay/MSM (Prince) category. This was an improvement since in
its previous year, only 27 people registered as pageant candidates.
The GWL Kawanua PPR includes activities other than the main pageant event
itself. As Tiara shared, the events were held across three days wherein they were
“quarantined” at a local hotel. On the first day, there was a training on important
topics such as HIV, AIDS, STI, Condoms, health services and addressing stigma,
discrimination among the GWL community. The training was held by representatives
from the North Sulawesi AIDS Commission. Subsequently, the training was followed
by sessions on improving general knowledge as well as beauty-related topics as many
members are in the beauty profession and working in saloons. All materials and
resources were supported by the sponsors.
On Day 2, a talent show was held at the Manado Trade Center. There was an
overwhelming positive response from the people of North Sulawesi who attended.
They enjoyed witnessing the talent presentation of the PPR candidates. To help in the
overall judging process, the talent event was followed by an interview to know more
about the candidates’ knowledge on important topics .
Day 3 was the highlight of the PPR Beauty Pageant . The main event was
opened by no less than the Governor of North Sulawesi, Sinyo Harry Sarundayang.
This is a matter of pride for the local GWL community because his presence sent the
message that GWL communities and their contributions are also acknowledged by
the government of North Sulawesi. Approximately 400 people from the GWL
community and invited guests were in attendance to witness the final pageant of the
PPR. The competition on stage was very stiff. The judges had a hard time in
determining the winners. After a long process, Ms. Tiara Vanessa Quiin was crowned
as Queen of GWL Kawanua. Mr. Davin Laluyan was also crowned as the Prince of GWL
A year after
held PPR in 2010
for the first time,”
According to Tiara and Davin, fulfilling their role as reigning Queen and Prince
of GWL Kawanua respectively was not easy. This is because they were, by default,
also given another title and responsibility as the HIV-AIDS ambassadors of North
Sulawesi. They were expected to deliver correct information about HIV, AIDS, STIs,
condoms and health services to others in the community. "This role was a challenge
for me," said Tiara.
Through this PPR activity, GWL Kawanua provides empowerment and
considerable benefits for the crowned Queen, Prince and finalists of PPR. The form of
empowerment given is the opportunity to attend the Peer Educators’ Training for HIV
and AIDS, Field Officers’ Training and a variety of other trainings
both at provincial and national levels. These trainings were not
only in the area of HIV and AIDS, but also in other areas such as
psychosocial training on the concept of self-knowledge.
“After participating in this training, communities are more
open and confident about their sexual orientation, sexuality and
gender identity. In addition, they also became more aware of
existing laws, especially those related to Human Rights" said Cris.
As the Prince and Queen, Tiara and Davin served for one
year to provide counseling on HIV and AIDS to others, as well as
representing GWL Kawanua in events. Education is indeed, the
main activity of this organization. In addition to the gay,
transgender and MSM communities, GWL Kawanua also provides
counseling to the general public. "We conduct outreach activities
every day," said Tiara, who also served as a coordinator for Peer Educators.
Meetings with government agencies such as Social Department and Health
Department, and even with the Department of Tourism were also undertaken by
GWL Kawanua for advocacy purposes. GWL Kawanua held advocacy meetings to
facilitate further collaboration between the community and government agencies.
Cris said that, in addition to establishing relationships with government
agencies, GWL Kawanua also conducts regular advocacy and outreach within the
community. The organization’s goal is to increase awareness and understanding of
HIV, AIDS, STIs, condom use, and positive behavioral changes. By far, their advocacy
within the community has been successful. Evidently, the increase in awareness
among MSMs and TGs to check their own health through Voluntary Counseling and
Testing (VCT) indicates that they have developed a heightened level of knowledge on
infection control and prevention of HIV and STIs. "As such, those who are at risk will be able to
protect themselves and their partners," he said.
As they shared earlier. Davin and Tiara carried a huge responsibility as the crowned Prince and
Queen for that year. “GWL Kawanua will act decisively in case the Prince and the Queen did not
perform tasks that have been set by the board for the duration of their assignment. If they do not
carry out their responsibilities as directed, the board has the right to revoke their titles”, they
commented. This shows that the PPR is more than just a beauty contest. There is an important social
mission that must be carried out by the selected ambassadors/winners. This is one reason why the
PPR is well recognized by community, local government and in general, by the people of North
Sulawesi. "The success of crowning the Prince and Queen of
GWL Kawanua has been widely recognized in North Sulawesi,"
said Rhey, the Committee Chairman of PPR in 2012.
In addition to the selection of the Prince and the Queen, a
number of other programs are also being implemented by
GWL Kawanua. For example, GWL Kawanua partners and
networks with the AIDS Commission (KPA) in three districts,
namely Manado, Bitung and Tomohon in North Sulawesi for
HIV and AIDS prevention, care and support.
GWL Kawanua is also actively involved in the activities
undertaken by GWL-INA since 2009. Through this national
network of Gay, MSM and Transgenders, GWL Kawanua finally
started to take part in various activities organized by the
ISEAN-HIVOS Program. ISEAN-HIVOS organizes various
training programs to improve the capacity and quality of community-based organizations particularly
the gay community, transgenders and other MSMs. “The first capacity building training attended by
GWL Kawanua is CBO mobilization training, where we truly felt a positive impact on the development
and organizational structure of GWL Kawanua”, said Tiara.. Tiara, as the Queen of GWL Kawanua,
actively participated in the training. According to her, the training is not only beneficial to the
organization, but also for her personally.
After attending a series of training and courses held by ISEAN - HIVOS and GWLmuda in 2012
Tiara initiated the establishment of GWLmuda Kawanua. This is a group focused on young MSMs and
transgender people in North Sulawesi. This idea was well received by the Board of GWL Kawanua
GWL and communities in North Sulawesi. GWLmuda Kawanua is expected to be a forum for
responsible, dedicated and knowledgeable young transgenders and gays who would be the “next-in-
line” or successors to GWL Kawanua, and carry out the tradition of “beauty with a purpose”.
Be like metals…we are like brass turned into gold”, said Sasha Rhamdani, a
healthcare advocate in Kuningan Regency. The speaker is a 30 year old
transgender person who knows a lot about HIV and AIDS. She can explain
many HIV-related topics from the challenge of the epidemic to the response
of various groups.
Sasha, as everyone who knows her calls her , is a not certified health care
worker like doctor. She is, in fact, a TG activist. Everyday she goes to different places
to provide information about HIV and other health issues. “At first I know nothing,
but after attending several trainings, I had become aware and well informed about
HIV and AIDS, I can now share the knowledge to my TG friends, as well”, said Sasha.
“Be like metals...we are like brass turned into gold”
From Brass to Gold
Srikandi Pasundan — Bandung
Sasha is just one out of the many TGs trained by Srikandi Pasundan (SP). SP has provided
trainings to many TGs in West Java. Through their capacity building program, individuals participate
in activities to help them develop a deeper social concern for the community. In addition, they are
also equipped with various knowledge and skills, one of which is on HIV and AIDS.
SP has carried out its activities since 2005 and has since gained support from various groups
and individuals parties. One of the factors that supported the achievements of the organization is the
leadership trainings conducted by the ISEAN-HIVOS Program through GWL-INA. This activity has led
to the better provision of trainings for more and more local TG groups and individuals.
The biggest challenge faced by the organization is how to further develop in each individual a
strong sense of social responsibility towards the community. But these challenges can be addressed
gradually. “The concerns and issues among the TGs are increasing”, said Riri Wirayadi, Chairman of
Apart from Sasha, there are several other TGs who are actively contributing to the community
in their own locales. For example, Farah, a 34 years old TG, served as an extension agent in Bandung.
The same is true for Bugi Lesmana (42 years old) who was also an extension agent (volunteer) in
Cimahi and Odah Saodah (44 years old) who held a similar post in West Bandung. They, as well as
many others, are examples of individuals who were trained by Srikandi Pasundan. They are now
utilizing in various ways, the knowledge that they have acquired, to benefit their communities.
For most TG community members, the usefulness of the trainings they attended is reflected in
their own increased level of self-confidence. “SP has helped me a lot. Now I am more independent
and confident,” said Farah, one of its members. The increase of knowledge and the self-confidence
to talk in front of the public are perceived by them to be particularly important benefits. “At first I
was not confident talk in public. Today, it’s a piece of cake,” said Odah.
The overall positive impact is not only felt by the TGs alone. This is also felt by the
organizations and agencies that work with SP. “SP is very helpful in reinforcing insightful knowledge
and promoting the commitment of TGs in running programs particularly in Indramayu”, said
Kristiyanti, Program Manager of National AIDS Commission of Indramayu district.
A similar sentiment was expressed also by Asep Susan Sonjaya, Program Manager of AIDS
Commission in Kuningan. He explained that the presence of the SP outreach workers is very helpful.
They make his work in mobilizing the community and carrying out activities much easier.
This activities of SP are expected to continue for years to come. The organization aims to
develop more advocates who are compassionate, independent and beautifully confident.
ky seems happier now days. Loads of activities such as accompanying
transgenders to the clinic, helping to get medicines at the hospital, and
checking transgender health conditions keeps her busy everyday. “It has
been one year for me being busy helping my friends”, said the 35 years
Oky’s condition is very different three years ago. In early 2011, this transgender
person from Medan health was in a very bad shape. She was weak and unable to
walk. Accompanied by a friend, she went to the KEBAYA secretariat, a transgender
organization at Gowongan Lor Region, Yogyakarta.
Oky’s tragic story is just one example from the many transgender immigrants
who access health care services through KEBAYA. They contacted KEBAYA because
“I was treated at the shelter when I got the information on how to independently
access the healthcare services, and I spread this information to other friends.”
SHELTER OF HOPE
Keluarga Besar Waria Yogyakarta (KEBAYA) — Yogyakarta
this organization has been working with the Executive Agency for Social Health
Insurance (BAPEL JAMKESOS) since 2007.
The cooperation was achieved by KEBAYA’s efforts to provide local transgender
people some convenience. This is in accordance with the organization’s vision, which
is to promote the health and empowerment of Yogyakarta’s transgender people. Its
mission is to promote improved perspectives, mindsets, and behaviors through
organizing advocacy, empowerment and health services with a gender and human
rights perspective that is friendly towards transgenders.
Before, Yogyakarta’s transgender persons would often experience difficulties
with the hospital administration. This negatively affects their health care access.
Therefore, KEBAYA initiated a cooperation agreement with BAPEL JAMKESOS,
Sardjito Hospital and Yogyakarta Social Service to address the concern.
Almost all of Yogyakarta transgender persons access health care using the
BAPEL JAMKESOS social health insurance. KEBAYA often helps immigrants like
Oky to access transgender-friendly services. Because of KEBAYA, they are able
to use the transgender group health insurance in hospital. After that, they can
get further treatment at the KEBAYA shelter when needed.
Since 2007, 180 transgender persons in Yogyakarta accessed health care
using BAPEL JAMKESOS. Of these, 78 received full hospitalization services, and
the rest availed outpatient benefit. Among those hospitalized, 12 eventually
passed away because they only received information and interventions when
they are already at their Stage Four of HIV infection and had very low CD4
counts. A total of 66 trans genders were treated at the KEBAYA home shelter
while 36 received treatment at their own place of residents.
Based on the records, shelters were needed since transgender people
who are affected by the disease may need further treatment to recover after
checking out from the hospital. Therefore, KEBAYA attempts to establish more
shelters. With support from ISEAN-HIVOS Program, through GWL-INA,
members of KEBAYA have participated in trainings on Strategic Planning, Leadership,
ICT & conducting Online Surveys. They also acquired knowledge about UNGASS and
how to conduct Community Consultations and Mobilization. The members of KEBAYA
still continue their mission towards providing services and support for transgenders.
“ I was treated at the KEBAYA’s shelter where I got information to independently
access health care, and I spread this information to other friends”, said Oky.
or Andre and most of his fellow gays, getting an HIV test is a frightening
experience. Being concerned that they will receive a sero-positive result makes
them reluctant to have themselves tested even though an HIV-antibody test is
very important for preventive measures and early treatment.
"At first I was afraid. Nevertheless, I dared to take the test. After I found out my
results, there are many changes in my life that I will pursue, especially in maintaining a
better lifestyle and using a condom every time", said Andre.
In the waiting room of Rawa Tembaga health center, Bekasi, Andre felt his
heart is pounding hard. It was not due to cardiac pain. He’s waiting for the
results of his first HIV test. This 30 years old gay man was incredibly worried
because he realized that he often did not wear a condom when having sexual
intercourse. An hour passed, he received the test result.
"NON REACTIVE" ...
Andre was relieved.
Gaya Patriot — Bekasi
The HIV and STI testing that Andre went through was through a mobile
voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) initiated by Gaya Patriot (GP) Bekasi. The
program aims to address existing problems in the Gay, TG and MSM community since
generally, many community members have difficulty in accessing health services. This
activity has been carried out since 2011 and is being conducted four times a year.
The main issue for the MSM and TG community in Bekasi is the poor access to
services. Even though actually in this city, four service providers are available. There
are available services at the Community Health Center (PKM) for STI screening and 17
PKMs provide VCT services. GP helps fellow gay, TG and MSM by providing
information on the specific location of the service providers that they can access.
GP is a community-based organization for gays and transgender persons which
was legitimated by Notary Deed No. 36. GP was initially only engaged in the field of
HIV and AIDS in Bekasi but the activities of this organization have now extended as
well to the larger issues of Human Rights (HAM), Sexual Health and Reproductive
Rights (SRHR) and the capacity building for their staffs and community members.
In terms of the need for health services, GP is also working with the National
AIDS Commission (KPA) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) both within and
outside Bekasi. It has formed allies and became a member of GWL-INA, the network
of MSM and TG CBOs in Indonesia. From the network, GP received many benefits
including several trainings on organizational development and related topics. In
addition, GP is also endorsed by the AIDS Commission (KPA) and Health Office (PHO)
In networking with health office and National AIDS Commission, GP felt the
need to further improve its advocacy and networking skills. This was fulfilled after GP
became a member of GWL-INA. GP representatives attended the CBO Training for
Local Staff on Institutional and Program Development and Strategic Planning which
was supported by ISEAN Hivos Global Fund Round 10. In this training, GP learned the
ways of improving their organization, formulation of their organization’s vision and
mission, developing a strategic plan and conducting a SWOT analysis (Strengths,
Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threat) as part of an overall organizational strategic
Through this training, GP developed its own 3-year strategic plan. This plan
includes activities related to coming up with Memorandums of Understanding
(MoUs) with service providers in Bekasi for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI)
testing, voluntary counseling and testing (VCT). The organizational goals include
was superb! No
Irawati (TG, 27
becoming an entry point towards accessing arrangements for services . This was
implemented as GP’s agreement for mobile VCT and STI testing for fellow GWLs. The
organization runs mobile VCT and STI testing at night. It also suggested
improvements towards achieving more friendly health services. The MoU made by GP
with PHC Rawa Tembaga, PHC Bantar Gebang and Mitra Sehati clinics aim to provide
better and more accessible STI services through mobile VCT clinics for the GWL
Various positive opinions related to the services were shared by fellow GWLs.
These activities also encourage a change towards safer sexual behaviors such as in
choosing a partner, and also during sex. They also began to feel more comfortable
when accessing the service because the services are GWL friendly.
“I today feel more comfortable being in the clinic”, said M. S Ginanjar (Gay, 19
“I just did VCT for the first time, but I experienced comfortable services. They
were friendly”, said Hamz (Gay, 23 years old).
“The service was superb! No more bitching towards TG persons accessing
services”, Ira Irawati (TG, 27 years old)”
Positive feedback was also given by the PHC officer towards GWL community.
They feel that the GWL community members are extraordinary.
“Fellow GWL are smart, and more open in disclosing their personal issues”, said
dr. Dedes (Medical Person in Charge at STI & VCT clinic in Rawa Tembaga). Dr. Dedes
also added that one significant change resulting from this activity was the increase in
the number of other GWLs visiting clinics and receiving tests and treatments.
Previously, at most, only 20 people per week came. But with the VCT mobile initiated
since April 2013, the number was increased to 47. This information has been
disseminated widely by GP to the GWL community in Bekasi through social media
network such as Facebook, BBM and local site cruising area.
For PHC, the increase in the number of clients encouraged them to provide
better services to improve VCT and STI services furthermore.
“This is due to the increasing number of HIV cases that needs attention”, said
dr. Ellis Z.D.,chief of Rawa Tembaga PHC.
I just did VCT
for the first time,
but I experience
said Hamz (Gay, 23
e often hear of many sad stories from young friends in the LGBT
(Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community. One of those
stories is the story of Marlina, a 20 year old lesbian teenager,
Marlina, called Indra by her friends, had to leave her family, after
they found out that she was lesbian.
Indra is young person who was born as a woman but acts like a “tomboy”. She
would be often be involved in brawls, consumed alcohol, and would steal money or
valuables even from her own family. This has led to her staying away from her family
and live a life of an “unstable adolescent”. Also, she does not yet fully understand the
concept of gender identity. She would often change sex partners, many of whom do
not really understand her being a lesbian. One day, Marlina met a new gay friend
“I’m very proud and lucky to be involved …”
THE POWER OF YOUTH
Gaya Lentera Muda (GAYLAM) — Lampung
named Jefri Aditya who is a member of GayLam community. Jefri also suffered the same
fate as her as he has also been outcasted by his family.
Indra and Jefri are adolescents who are going through a transition period in there
lives. They are experiencing changes in all aspects, among them physically and
psychologically. Many of the local LGBT Youth (with ages from 15-24 years) encounter
stigma and discrimination because of their having a different gender identity and sexual
orientation. Due to the negative reaction of their own families and their communities,
many of them live troubled lives as teenagers and have very limited achievements. They
also often drop out from school in order to avoid stigma and discrimination from people
who refuse to tolerate their being different.
Lampung GayLam works with young lesbians, MSMs and other community
members. Their involvement with GayLam helps make the local LGBT youth stronger as a
community. Gaylam tried to form cadres of youth groups who participate in programs
especially targeting younger populations in their locales.
To achieve behavior change and healthier lifestyles, Lampung GayLam conducts
capacity building activities for the LGBT Youth. These activities help to equip them with
skills to become peer educators who will reach out to other young LGBTs, especially in
issues related to HIV/AIDS, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) and LGBT
GatyLam’s initatives which Involve GWL teens and adolescents, are expected to
enable them to play an important role on these issues. One of these initiatives is a forum
called the Lampung LGBT Youth Forum whicj was designed especially for adolescents
and young adults This forum aims to empower young LGBTs towards reducing the
transmission rate of HIV/AIDS among adolescents. The forum also provides participants
with knowledge and better understanding about sexual orientation, gender identities,
LGBT rights and other adolescent issues. They also work towards reducing stigma and
discrimination against LGBTs in their communities.
GayLam is very open to all LGBT community members. Their activities include
capacity building on basic HIV/AIDS prevention, including the correct use of condoms.
Gender and Sexuality and Human Rights are also discussed. Young LGBTs are involved in
training and meetings such as the national level training for young GWL, ToT Peer
Educator, Leadership Training and mobilization of young GWL held by GWL-INA and the
ISEAN-Hivos Program. “These events were very useful and have a positive impact on the
lives of young GWL in Lampung. The hope is for them to become GWL adolescents who
can positively contribute to their communities”, according to Indra and Ari.
“I’m very proud and feel lucky to be involved in activities held by GayLam. There is
a lot of knowledge and perception that I get from the organization that’s why I decided
to become one of the staff at GayLam”, said Indra.
…, there is a
lot of knowledge
that I get from the
organization and I
become one of
the staff at
GayLam aims to establish more GayLam partners and help coordinate
activities for the lesbian community through a group called Gendhis in
“Having Gendhis as a lesbian community makes me feel that I do not
live alone as a lesbian. Because of this, I was able to encourage myself to talk
to my family that being a lesbian is not a disease. And that lesbians are not
“scum” and that I am also entitled to have an equal position in the society
the same as others”, said Indra. She added, “ In fact, I am involved in the
Bandar Lampung AIDS Commission in coordinating a Mobile Condom Outlet.
Also, I was often involved in many national meetings such as National Youth
Forum and activities held by Ardhanary”, said Indra.
In addition to their activities, GayLam Lampung already has a
leadership pool. According to Jefri “Before I joined GayLam, I was just like
any other ordinary young person. But when I started actively involved in the
organization’s activities and programs, I saw a significant improvement in
myself as well as in others. This is specially in relation to SOGI, LGBT Youth
Rights, HIV and AIDS and other concerns. Because of my having more roles
and responsibilities, my commitment to the LGBT community became
stronger. I am a living proof that there is space for teens to be able to lead
the community on certain issues”, said Jefri.
The LGBT Youth have had significant participation in all organization
activities and programs implemented by GayLam. Moreover, the youth
members and volunteers actively get involved in the implementation of
programs. They also contribute significantly in terms of planning,
organizational operations, as well as in monitoring and evaluation. One proof
is the official formation of cadres as part of the leadership process for the
organization to reach out to the other potential LGBT Youth groups. The
expectation is that with a meaningful involvement of LGBT Youth, stigma and
discrimination would finally be minimized if not eradicated at all levels.
The proof is
in me, and it is
related to the
space for teens to
be able to lead the
t has been one year since a house on Abdul Halim 46 road, Cimahi, became Srikandi
Perintis’ secretariat. Srikandi Perintis is the transgender organization in the city. In
many occasions, five of the organization’s administrators seemed to drown with
tasks related to their group’s activities. From writing to typing on the computer,
and developing information leaflets, every one had a lot of things to do. “These are our
day to day activities”, said Berby Gita, leader of Srikandi Perintis.
The main initiative of this organization is to provide education and counseling on
HIV and AIDS to the public as well as transgenders. “We do this kind of activity every
day”, said Bugi Lesmana, the group’s Counseling Officer Coordinator. Srikandi Perintis is
also actively involved in meetings with Cimahi government agencies. Berby said, “The
purpose of holding this kind of event is to facilitate cooperation between private or civic
organizations with the government”.
“We also want to see some changes of attitude from
the public towards transgender groups.”
Srikandi Pasundan — Bandung
Srikandi Perintis is one of the several transgender organizations in West Java.
The organization was formerly named Himpunan Waria Cimahi when it was formed at
2000. Back then, their activities focused mainly on sports and the arts.
Himpunan Waria Cimahi rapidly developed into an organization with a lot of
activities after the members gained skills and knowledge on running an organization
properly. Like any other transgender organizations in West Java, Srikandi Perintis
gained skills and knowledge from Srikandi Pasundan, which usually called “SP” in
short. SP is the main transgender organization in this province. As the main
organization, SP went through a lengthy process in setting up and supporting other
transgender organizations in the area since 2006.
One of the supports provided to help develop organizations is through Srikandi
Pasundan’s participation in various activities organized by the ISEAN-HIVOS Program
through GWL-INA. The activities that seemed to be most beneficial for the group are
the strategic planning training and leadership trainings. With the knowledge gained
from those activities, Srikandi Pasundan is now better able to facilitate the quality
improvement and autonomy of transgender organizations in West Java.
Srikandi Perintis is one of the more active TG organizations developed
transgender by SP. There are also similar organizations in other localities such as
Srikandi Patuha in Bandung regency, Srikandi Pantura in Indramayu regency, Srikandi
Panyawangan in Kuningan regency. Several Srikandis are also spread across West
There are challenges and obstacles in the early stages of their organizational
development. The obstacles are mostly related to the resources available to
transgenders as well as their mindset in working with the organization. “Thanks to
the training attended by the SP staff, challenges can be overcome” said Riri Wirayadi,
Leader of SP.
The main objective of this organization is to improve the capacities of human
resources and support a healthier mindset for its transgender members. “Besides, we
also want to see some changes of attitude from public towards transgender groups”
Aside from forming organizations, SP also encourages these organizations to
cooperate with stakeholders and agencies in their respective regions. The goal is for
these organizations to contribute to their communities. SP’s efforts are beginning to
show results. For example, other transgender organizations in West Java are now
conducting their own activities. Some of them had become formal program
implementers, such as Srikandi Patuha which is currently an implementing
organization for the national HIV and AIDS Prevention Program in Bandung Regency.
Thanks to the
by SP staff,
challenges can be
Leader of SP.
Ike Diyah S.Sos, PKBI Bandung’s Program Manager said, “Transgender
organizations in the region have become more competent in running these programs
and we felt that positive change. Now, Srikandi Patuha is one of our Implementing
Units in Bandung Regency.
SP’s support for transgender organization in diverse areas has received positive
feedback from stakeholders. “After we received support from SP, we became closer
with stakeholders in Indramayu”. This was expressed by Erna Zaen, the Head of
Srikandi Pantura Indramayu. Another comment was shared by Selva Setiady, head of
Srikandi Patuha Bandung, “Now we can manage our organization more
By creating more capable transgender organizations across West Java, it is
expected that SP will continue its goal towards improved quality, empowerment, and
independence so eventually stigma and discrimination from the society against TG
people can be reduced. “It is a goal that we continue to fight for”, said Riri.
at a glance
The number of HIV/AIDS cases in the Philippines has surpassed the 10,000-
mark. The Department of Health's Philippine HIV/AIDS Registry showed that from
1984 to September 2012, there were a total of 10,830 HIV cases and 1,078 of them
became AIDS with 353 deaths. By 2013, about 10 new cases are reported daily. Since
the first AIDS case was diagnosed in 1984, the HIV/AIDS level in the Philippines has
been regarded as mysteriously “low and slow.” However, latest statistics seem to
suggest that the country's luck is running out. Although HIV prevalence remains
below one percent of the general population, it has already breached one percent
among key population at higher risk.
Sexual contact is the most common mode of HIV transmission, but from 2007
there has been a shift in the predominant trend of sexual transmission from
heterosexual contact (20%) to males having sex with other males (MSM, 80%). The
DOH clarified that men who engage in sex with men were not all homosexuals. It
reiterated that HIV/AIDS is not about being gay but about men having unprotected
sex with men.
In October, the DOH announced the results of its study conducted last year that
showed online social networking contributes to the rise in the HIV/AIDS cases in the
country. The study covered 180 MSM respondents. Of the 180 respondents, 124
admitted to using online network sites for dating and sex, while 133 said they had sex
with people they contacted through online network sites. Those who engaged in sex
were between the age of 14 and 36.
Health Assistant Secretary and Director of the National Epidemiology Center Dr.
Enrique Tayag said, “Through online networking sites, MSM can meet without fear of
negative social consequences. He added that with the Internet increasing the rates of
risky behavior, online social networking can now be included as an evolving risk factor
for HIV/AIDS. The list the risky behaviors contributing to the rise of HIV/AIDS includes
not using condoms, multiple sex partners, men having sex with men and injecting
[Philippines Department of Health
Report on Internet, Prostitution and
ur organization, the Peer Ed ME-PAMACQ has four places where
we Rampa. Our name is an acronym for PAsay, MAnila, Caloocan
and Quezon Cities. The name is catchy but beyond that, this is
where we became known and remembered. Because of the large
area covered by the four cities, it was difficult for us to conduct our peer education
activities. We circumvent this by assigning active members who are lodged at each
site and they have the leeway to do specific activities or events at that site. Each
member is just required to inform the organization of these activities. This allows
each member to be more comfortable handling his own activity .
Peer Ed ME-PAMACQ is a true grassroots organization that started with
members having various goals and perspectives. With the help of other people and
“Because of our continued participation in trainings under ISEAN-
HIVOS Program, members of PAMACQ were able to better themselves”.
Peer Educators Movement for Empowerment of Pasay, Manila, Caloocan
and Quezon City (PAMACQ) — Metro Manila
non-government organizations (NGO) such as Philippine Rural Reconstruction
Movement (PRRM) under the HAPP HIV-AIDS Project Program, UNICEF, Pinoy
Competence, Youth Consortium, The Library Foundation (TLF) and Catholics for
Reproductive Health (C4RH) who believed in our capacity and contributed greatly to
our development as an organization. During that time, we were becoming more
known to the community and had started to make a name in peer education and
service with regards to Adolescent Reproductive Health (ARH), HIV and AIDS.
We understand that we still have a lot to learn. We have said time and again
that if we are given the opportunity to learn outside of ourselves in order to achieve
our full potential and if given the needed resources, we would go for it! It was this
spirit and attitude that brought us this far.
In 2012, when we were invited to join in trainings geared towards strengthening
the capacity of community based organizations in order to improve the services we
can give to MSM and TG with regards to HIV-AIDS, we did not hesitate to heed the
call. We felt that a door had opened for us in order to gain knowledge. With the help
of Philippine NGO Council on Population, Health and Welfare, Inc. (PNGOC) under the
ISEAN-HIVOS Program, we were able to attend these various trainings.
Our continued participation in trainings under ISEAN-HIVOS Program, members
of PAMACQ were able to better themselves. This includes how to network and
partner with other stakeholders to solicit support for our programs and activities.
Even with other competing organizations, we found ways to harmonize our activities
and work together. Each organization was able to help the other in spite of the
difference in program goals. This increased our skills and capacity in dealing with
other organizations and maximizing our activities. With these activities, we were able
to realize our strength in mobilizing resources and found an avenue to improve in the
aspect of management, research, documentation, monitoring and evaluation.
we still have a lot
THE STORY OF WELLA
y name is Rowell B. Caayao, but only to friends
who know me well. I am more known by the name
Wela. I am 24 years of age and I am proud to say
that I am a bisexual. I live in Barangay Bagong
Silang, one of the biggest barangays in Caloocan City. I finished my
course in Bachelor in Science in Elementary Education in one of the
colleges here in the city.
My life is a series of RAMPAs. I underwent a lot of
experiences before I found my final place of RAMPA in the Peer Ed
ME-PAMACQ. Once upon a time, I was a teacher. But later on, I
chose to be an employee in a company as a telemarketer (Call
Center Agent) because of the demand and the higher pay.
I was also a candidate in Miss Gay Pageants in our Barangay.
The first time I joined a pageant, I was crowned the most beautiful
contestant. It was in joining pageants that started my exposure to
In mid-2012, an outreach activity was done by a peer
educator trained by the ISEAN-HIVOS Program in our community. I
was one of the clients. I learned a lot from this activity. Indeed, my
interest was captured when we talked about MSM and TG rights.
Even more so, my attention engaged when the talk turned to HIV education. I was
very surprised that the peer educator was very good at public speaking and of the
information that was disseminated so much so that I wanted to be a peer educator
myself. I asked if I could be part of the organization, and he gladly told me all about
Peer Ed ME-PAMACQ. In other words, I became a member on the spot.
Since then, I became a part of the organization. With the help of their Facebook
site, I was able to learn more about the organization and understood and appreciate
the activities being conducted. And because of this, I decided to give my time to the
activities that they were conducting.
After the first batch of peer educators training under the ISEAN-HIVOS
Program, Peer Ed ME-PAMACQ recommended me to join the next batch of trainees.
When I was asked, I agreed to be part of the training without hesitation and
immediately prepared all my requirements. It was this training that opened my mind
and deepened my understanding. I became a person who achieved enlightenment,
understanding, respect and acceptance of my personality and character.
The ISEAN-HIVOS Program has helped my persona by opening my mind and
adding to my knowledge. They helped me achieve greater confidence and paved a
way for me to be able to stand in front of my peers regardless of status in life. I have
become more responsible. I am able to trust my organization fully in the short time
that I have spent with it.
After the training, we proceeded to go back to our community to fulfill our
responsibility. There were instances that could not be avoided that may cause harm
to us as peer educators. On occasions, we were mistakenly thought to be assets for
the police, pimps, drug pushers or worse a prostitute. These are experiences that I
will never forget while conducting Peer Education under the IHP Program.
I know that this obligation that I took is not something to joke about. While
conducting peer education, I saw and heard from my clients that many of them need
to open themselves up to knowledge about their rights as homosexuals. Many of
them have high level knowledge of what HIV is but lack the knowledge on how to
prevent the disease. With my background as a teacher, I take the effort to learn more
about the disease when time permits. Every time I join a Pageant, I take this as an
opportunity to interject HIV education and MSM/TG rights when the judge’s interview
I see this as a way to provide further all that I learned about IHP especially to
those who are like me. Because even now, many of us are still blind to the facts and
lack knowledge. I am grateful to my family and friends who have given me full
I became a
acceptance of my
n the recent years, Cebu City has experienced a surge in the number of
new HIV cases. In 2008 and 2009, our city’s HIV Registry recorded 10 and
11 new cases per day but in the last three years, the daily number of new
cases increased more than tenfold. Thus from 1989 (the year when the
first HIV case was recorded) up to 2012, our city has registered a total of 604 PLHIV. A
majority are males and injecting drug users who are engaged in same sex and
bisexual exposures. They also have low knowledge about HIV, low condom use
during their last anal sex, and poor access to health and other services. Many of them
are not coming to the city’s health facilities for counseling and testing mainly due to
the continuing stigma attached to the disease.
The increasing number of HIV cases in our city especially among males who
have sex with other males (MSM) and transgenders has alarmed our organization.
VCT ON WHEELS
Cebu Plus Association, Inc — Cebu
“It is easier for us who have no transportation money to go to the city health
office for testing because the van or Cebu Mobile Plus comes to us.”
We are a Social Security and Exchange registered PLHIV NGO that has been actively
partnering with our city government’s Multi-Sectoral STD/AIDS Council (CCMSAC), the
Sangguniang Kabataan (Youth Legislative) Federation, our City Health Department
particularly its Social Hygiene Clinic, and the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center
(VSMMC), a public hospital. VSMMC provides office space in its compound for our
association to facilitate our coordination regarding clients who need treatment and
support. We network with local and national NGOs and the private sector in a number
of HIV and reproductive health activities.
Our city has a Social Hygiene Clinic but the MSM and transgender are not
coming to this facility because they perceive that this clinic is solely for female sex
workers. It is also operated by relatively older female health providers who are
viewed as unresponsive to the MSM and transgenders (TG) health and psycho-social
We know that our city has several MSM and transgender people (estimated
number is around 12,000 out of 304,000 males 10 years and older in 2007) but many
are not coming out for VCT. They can be reached in their barangays but we needed an
effective strategy to get to where they are converging and to make them utilize the
services of our Social Hygiene Clinic.
Our participation in the PNGOC-IHP for about two years now has
professionalized our organization but most importantly, it is beginning to improve
our target clientele’s HIV knowledge and change their behavior and attitudes toward
VCT. The transformation that we are experiencing now can be directly attributed to
the IHP SAN Fund support to our proposal to have the Cebu Mobile Plus clinic and the
Wellness Lounge at the Social Hygiene Clinic that exclusively caters to MSM and TG.
VCT on wheels: Service at their doorsteps!
The Cebu Mobile Plus was created to promote on-site HIV voluntary counseling
and testing (VCT) for community-based MSM, TG, PWID and other population
segments that are interested to know about their HIV status for prevention and care.
This mobile facility intends to create acceptance and demand for HIV and AIDS
services especially among the population groups that are hesitant or do not have the
time and resources to visit the government’s health facilities. It aims to reduce the
stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS and to enhance partnership between our
association and the different groups in our city. One community-based client gave the
following feedback regarding our services.
“Mass sayun ug dali na para namu nga walai ika plete kung mag pa testme sa
City Health kai ang van o ang Cebu Mobile Plus ra ang moadto para namu. Unya ang
impact is sayun ra ug di na hasol para namu.”
for about two
years now has
importantly, it is
and change their
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