Shinta Ratri (Pesantren Waria)
Shinta Ratri, co-founder and director of Pesantren Waria, is 54 years old and a trans Muslim woman (waria). She has been living in Indonesia as a waria since she was 18. She eventually came to know a network of other warias in the city and joined up with them to found a Madrasa. Shinta prays in her hijab and has been an advocate for the recognition of warias amongst Islamic Institutions in Indonesia.
Pesantren Waria is a powerful and innovative Islamic school (Madrasa) created by and for trans persons in Indonesia. It accommodates the needs of trans individuals and creates a safe space for them to practice their religion and be who they are. The Madrasa has about 40 regular students. The Institution gained ground and respect amongst the local Muslim community, as Imams from traditional Mosques attend the school every Monday to talk about Islam and love. In 2016, the school faced some challenges from police and conservative neighbours, but they won’t give up. Not Only Voices visited the Madrasa and talked to 12 trans women.
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