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date: 31 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

A profusion of Indonesian performance traditions, past and present, involve non-ordinary gender identities and sexual practices. Western theorists might interpret these performances as “queer,” but from indigenous points of view, they articulate quite comfortably with the dominant values of the societies that fostered them and often serve conservative, rather than transgressive, purposes, such as affirming cosmological ideas of duality, complementarity, and the reconciliation of opposites. This chapter surveys traditions from Sulawesi, Kalimantan (Borneo), and Papua, as well as from Java and Bali, which present welcome correctives to oversimplified understandings of compulsory heterosexuality and binary gender/sexuality identities and provide entry points for more nuanced understandings of the relationship of performing arts with “queerness.”

Keywords: Indonesia, Java, Bali, bissu, Ngaju Dayak, Reyog Ponorogo, Topeng Cirebon, waria, gender complementarity

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