Rully Mallay (61) is a trans women activist in Yogyakarta. She frequently advocates for fundamental trans women rights, such as having a KTP (national identity certificate), access to insurance, and healthcare services for her community, through the Kebaya Foundation.
Rully Mallay (61) is a trans women activist in Yogyakarta. She frequently advocates for fundamental trans women rights, such as having a KTP (national identity certificate), access to insurance, and healthcare services for her community, through the Kebaya Foundation.

Rully is a transwoman activist and the coordinator of the Waria Crisis Center (WCC). While managing data administration and organizing online meetings, Rully shared how her community struggled to access healthcare during the COVID-19 outbreak, which resulted in the loss of several friends. This issue arose because many community members lacked an ID card, which the government should make easier to obtain.

“We all struggled together,” Rully recalled. “I took on a role at the Kebaya Foundation to handle administration for those who live without ID cards, and other friends were in the field finding and distributing aid and medicines. On the other hand, we also prioritize our senior friends. Unfortunately, some of them have passed away due to health issues, while the rest still require particular care to this day.”

As a vulnerable community, elderly trans women tend to face greater challenges with financial and health issues. There are 31 pre-elderly transwomen and about 26 elderly transwomen in Yogyakarta altogether. Many of them must reside at home or in shelters due to health problems such as stroke, heart disease, lung issues, and complications from HIV infection. Some of them are still working in the non-formal sector. Given that the majority have experienced a structural cycle of poverty, the situation is worsening.

Through this visual story, Rully and other transwomen at the Kebaya Foundation and WCC are fighting for their civil and human rights, reminding us that Indonesian culture accepted the transwomen community long before the idea of a state existed.

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How does it feel to be 72?

Why did you retire or why are you still working?

Why did you retire?

Why are you still working?

Supporting my community is crucial, especially when addressing health issues. That's why I established the WCC (Waria Crisis Center) shelter as a safe space for elderly trans women to receive housing and care without worrying about the costs. We take care of them when they are sick, find hospitals for treatment, and even arrange graves for those whose families refuse to bury them. Despite my age, I am continuously working to collect financial assistance and have dedicated my life to the community to promote welfare amid social injustice.

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Life expectancy 2023

years

About the photographer

Ryan Andrew

🌐
Jakarta

Ryan Andrew, born in 1991 in Jakarta, pursued visual communication after a finance degree. His photography, focusing on gender fluidity and identity, advocates for the LGBTQ+ community. His work was showcased at the Jakarta and Solo Photo Festivals in 2023.

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