“Let Them Take Ecstasy”

These quotes have been pulled from an essay written by Alison J. Murray, titled “Let The Take Ecstacy:Class and Jakarta Lesbians,” which was published in the anthology female desires.

“I want to show that class is a major division between Jakarta lesbians. A discussion of the dominant ideology of women’s sexuality that invisibilizes and stigmatizes homosexuality and scenes from everyday urban life will illustrate how lesbian experiences vary according to context.” (139)
“There is no lesbian ‘community’ in Jakarta since class overdetermines both class and sexuality, but there can be strategic communities and identities in specific times and spaces.”(140)

“..lesbian identity is confined to women with short hair and other prescribed ‘lesbian’ signifiers. Meanwhile closeted networks of upper-class lesbians are linked to a growing global lesbian and gay movement, but these women usually maintain a ‘straight’ appearance in Jakarta.”
The idea of the happy and healthy nuclear family indoctrinates people with the idea that marriage to a man is essential to make a woman complete; sexuality and sexual practices are thereby controlled by being subsumed within correct gender roles.” (141)

“While lesbianism is not officially illegal, the minister for women’s affairs has stated that lesbianism is not a part of Indonesian culture or state ideology; this is an example of a common technique of blaming anything undesirable on the decadent West while simultaneously embracing all kinds of clearly inappropriate Western technologies and consumer goods.”
It is not lesbian activity that has been imported from the West, but the word lesbi to label the Western concept of individual based on a fixed sexuality.” (142)

“I have found it hard to avoid the word ‘lesbian’ to refer to female-female sexual relations, but it should no be taken to imply permanent self identity. It is very important to understand the social contexts of behavior in order to avoid drawing conclusions based on innapropriate Western notions of lesbian identity, community, or ‘queer’ culture.”

“..we should interrogate the assumptions of the international gay/lesbian movement about a common global identity which is a basis for a new sort of global political movement. It seems that Indonesians, particularly gay men, are finding a place in the international movement and its political agenda as well as in its cosmopolitan bar scene- probably more so than Indonesian gays and lesbians are finding a common identity among themselves.”

“Rosawita points out that the ideological suppresion of women in all spheres makes lesbians more silent to gay men and gives them little basis for a coalition with gay men.. If sexuality is perceived as male and people are defined in relation to men, then it follows that gay men are hypervisible and lesbians are invisible.”
“I suggest that the form of this invisibility varies with class: higher class lesbians choose to hide to retain power, while the regime chooses not to see the lower-class subculture at all. To acknowledge lesbians would allow women an active sexuality that is not part of ‘women’s destiny.’ (144-145)


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