My name is Amar Alfikar.
I am an Indonesian queer Muslim activist. I unpack queer-phobic languages, and challenge dehumanizing narratives. I campaign for the urge of building a bridge of justice on interfaith, gender and sexuality (queer theology), I create inclusive calligraphy and podcast, and through my activism I do advocacy and campaign for trans and non-binary rights.
What I enjoy the most about my work is organising forums and programs which encourage religious and faith leaders to be more embracing toward queer communities, some of these forums lead to the knowledge production of books, stories and interpretations that shift narratives, from phobia to love, from rejection to acceptance in spiritual spaces. I also love facilitating casual and formal training on queer identities to empower queer people to be more proud of themselves.
What people do not know about my country is that there are several local stories and beliefs capturing gender diversity and queer arts in history. For instance, in Bugis society, located in South Sulawesi, there are persisted cultural traditions portraying the belief in five genders. Also, beside the fact that there is rising tide of conservatism in Indonesia, there are actually Islamic boarding school managed and dedicated for trans communities to learn Islam in an inclusive way, which is now becoming spiritual home for intellectual and spiritual space.
If I could meet anyone from the past, present or future, it would be Abdurrahman Wahid, the only former president of Indonesia coming from Islamic traditional family. He laid the foundation of democracy, pluralism, human rights and interfaith dialogue with his progressive perspective in promoting humanity, justice and harmony.
World would be a better place if faith could become the source of spiritual enlightenment where people learn more about humanity and diversity as one of the gifts for this universe that we should be grateful for, and that the interpretation coming from faith is more focused on building kindness and awareness to respect others no matter the differences we have in this vibrant life full of colors.
My favourite saying used in my country is Rukun Agawe Santosa Cah Agawe Bubrah (unity creates wellbeing while conflict creates suffering), this is one of Javanese proverbs to promote the understanding and respect amongst all diversity we have with others.
My message to the world: Humanity without inclusivity is an illusion. Let's fight stigma together by bringing more peaceful narratives in all aspect, by inviting everyone to be part of change. We need to be more relentless in campaigning the urge to voice solidarity above all suffering and discrimination that some of us have still been facing.
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