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Accepted Paper:

Reworking kinship configurations: silence and normality in Indonesian transgender family intimacies  
Sylvia Tidey (University of Virginia)

Paper short abstract:

This paper focuses on kinship configurations between Indonesian transgender women and their parents to consider how silence and conceptions of normality help those who find themselves in non-heteronormative kinship constructions in the non-West rework the terms of what counts as proper kinship.

Paper long abstract:

How does having or being a transgender child reshape intergenerational kinship expectations? In this paper I address configurations of transgender and kinship in the non-West by discussing the often fraught relationships between waria (Indonesian transgender women) and their parents. In the past decade "transgender" subject positions have gained increased visibility in LGBT activism, the media, and in academia. Although scholars have paid attention to the construction of non-biological new kinship formations and the importance of the influence of "old" kinship formations on transgender well-being, not much ethnographic attention has been paid to the unfolding of transgender lives in relation to their embeddedness in heteronormative kinship networks - in particular from viewpoints outside of the so-called West. Because of this, I want to attend to the everyday lived experiences of transgender women in the non-West by addressing the precarious parent-waria relationships in Indonesia. Heterosexual marriage and reproduction form prominent sites of proper Indonesian citizenship and moral subjectivity. The most important responsibilities of Indonesian children towards their parents are therefore to get married and to reproduce. Waria fail to meet these responsibilities and thus fail to be proper children, moral subjects, and citizens. Yet, instead of opting out of their kinship ties altogether, some waria and their parents manage to rework the terms that stipulate what counts as proper kinship. How they do this and how ideas on the "normal" and the importance of silence figure in this are central topics of this paper.

Panel P036
Kinning and de-kinning: kinship practices between "parental figures", "reproductive collaborators" and children among new family configurations
  Session 1