Co-Founder of Transgender Islamic School in Indonesia, Shinta Ratri Passed Away, Yogyakarta - Human rights activist and co-founder of Islamic school for transgender, Shinta Ratri, passed away on Tuesday (1/2/2023). She was 60-year-old.

Shinta was the head of an Islamic School (pesantren) in Yogyakarta. Her school was different for they opened the door for the discriminated trans community. 

Shinta said the purpose of the school was to provide a religious space for the trans community.

"When praying in the mosque, sometimes there were a lot of rejection. Not just words, but actions. When finding out of praying next to waria, they then moved away. This is what made waria tended to pray at home, said Shinta in 2021.

The school was founded in 2008. As of 2021, the school had 41 students. They often held traditional Islamic activities. The members of the school also often visited the final resting places of the Muslim transgenders. 

Waria (shemale) is a portmanteau of the word wanita (female) and pria (male). Depending on the context, the word may or may not be offensive.

Shinta took care of the leadership after its founder, Maryani, passed away.

The Gusdurian community on Twitter also offered condolences for her passing. Gusdurian is the name of the followers of former President Gus Dur who was known for his intellectual views and tolerant principles. 

Legal aid institute APIK which specializes in advocating for women's issues also expressed their condolences for Shinta, and praised her as a strong defender of human rights

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The Only One

Shinta was born on 15 October 1962 in Yogyakarta, the same city where she passed away.

The school is self-funded. The transgender people who came to her school were not from privileged backgrounds. They could be a street musician, entrepreneur, employee at a legal aid institute, salon worker, among others.

They came from different cities, including Jakarta.

Despite the haunting discrimination, her school managed to receive discrimination from the Ministry of Religious Affairs. The ministry gave training to the school, and acknowledged the school's humanitarian values.

However, the members of the school are able to socialize with the society.

In 2019, Shinta Ratri received a human rights award from the Front Line Defenders. The Ireland-based organization recognized Shinta as an inspirational figure for supporting human rights for the trans community through her school.


Yusron Fahmi, Agustina Melani, and Teddy Tri Setio Berty contributed to the report.

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