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Falling into the Lesbi WorldDesire and Difference in Indonesia$
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Evelyn Blackwood

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780824834425

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824834425.001.0001

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Gender, Sexuality, and Queer Desires

Gender, Sexuality, and Queer Desires

(p.1) Chapter One Gender, Sexuality, and Queer Desires
Falling into the Lesbi World

Evelyn Blackwood

University of Hawai'i Press

This book explores the discourses that circulate in the lives of Indonesian lesbians “tomboi” (derived from the English word “tomboy”), their practices, their social relations with kin and community, and their linguistic strategies. Drawing on interviews with tombois who live primarily in the regional metropolis of Padang on the coast of West Sumatra, the book seeks to contextualize the rich and complex subjectivities they express. The respondents prefer to use gender-marked terms like “tomboi” for the masculine partners and “girlfriend” or “femme” for the feminine partners. This book examines the ways Indonesian lesbians claim, contest, rework, and blur the terms by which they define themselves. It also considers the processes and the moments through which tombois and their girlfriends take up particular subject positions in childhood and adulthood. Finally, it discusses the ways that nationally and globally circulating queer discourses are received and reinterpreted by both tombois and femmes.

Keywords:   lesbians, tombois, Padang, Indonesia, girlfriends, queer discourses, femmes

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