BALI’S DRAG QUEEN Putu Sayoga

On the backstage, Renata is busy putting on her stage costume. As soon as she is finished with it, she begins to apply make-up on her face, when she precisely spread the beauty powder on her cheeks and draw the lipstick on her lips. Renata, is the name of a decorated drag queen at Bali Joe Bar for gay community located in Seminyak, one of the famed tourist destination in the Island of Bali.

Accompanied by her fellow drag queens, she is scheduled to perform on stage that night, to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the Bar.  She will portray Tina Turner, a singer from the US known better for her performance on the soundtrack of Golden Eye, one of James Bond movies.

The night is late, and the bar gets more crowded by visitors, most of them are men. On 8:30 p.m onward, the show is opened by a performance from Fiona, who sings a song from Moulin Rouge movie by lip-sync. After she concludes her performance with a rally of applause, Renata comes up on stage, carries her duty on Golden Eye song also by lip-sync. She swings her body around and moves energetically, as she  tries to bring Tina Turner’s real stage performance to the bar.

According to Fiona, one of the most frequent drag queen to be on stage in Seminyak, the show was started from approximately the previous four to five years. The emergence of the Drag Queen Show in Seminyak vicinity is closely connected to the development of LGBT communities there. At this neighbourhood, almost all facilities designed for LGBT could be found, like hotel, villa, spa, and clearly the bar.

Not like the other areas in Indonesia, LGBT communities on this place in relatively more open to public and deliberately free to self-expression. According to the research of Pew Research Center conducted on 2013, Indonesia is categorized as a relatively intolerant country toward homosexuals. This result is convincingly proven by a case in 2010 in Surabaya, where an International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) meeting was coercively disbanded by a fundamentalist religious group.

Time passes as the two-hour show carries on. The night gets more glittering, but the show should come to an end. The go-go dance closes the entire performance, brought up by the bar waiters, and received by rounds of applause from the visitors.

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