Ardhanary Institute and Independent Journalist Alliance held ASEAN Literary Festival (ALF) 2017 to celebrate the ASEAN 50th anniversary. The event entitled Beyond Imagination was also supported by Indonesian Ministry of Education and Cultures, Ministry of International Affairs, and Asian Center Japan Foundation. It was held from August 3 – 6, 2017 in Jakarta. The event was attended by famous writers from ASEAN countries, including Ahmad Fuadi, Alanda Kariza, Andrew Fowler, Arswendo Atmowiloto, and Candra Malik. Several events were held in ALF 2017, such as workshop, discussion, publisher corner, communities corner, writer corner, and ethnic music corner.
ALF 2017 also held an essay writing competition regarding gender and sexuality diversity for journalists, communities, and students. One of UGM students from Department of Sociology at Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Abdullah Faqih, also participated in the competition. Out of 400 submitted essays, Faqih’s essay succeeded to be the runner up of the competition.
Faqih submitted an essay regarding boarding schools for trans-gender in Yogyakarta which increases the emergence of studies or discourses on trans-gender with the heteronormative perspective as its framework. Faqih said such boarding school is supposed to be seen as a place for them to deepen their knowledge on Islamic religion without the need to be in clash with various dimensions. Faqih was inspired by the Bissu phenomenon in South Sulawesi which is placed as the fifth gender in the social structure and culture.
“The trans-gender in Al-Fattah boarding school has to be seen as a separate gender identity, outside the normal identity of man and woman,” said Faqih.