Indonesia: Trial continues of XXY man for being an XXY man

June 9, 2010

I wrote recently about Alterina Hofan, a chromosomally atypical (47,XXY) man who stands accused of falsifying his identity. The prosecution alleges that Alterina is a female who swapped gender status to male in 2006, while the defence claims he has always been a man but that his genitalia developed late because of Klinefelter’s syndrome.

Alterina identifies himself as a man and, after years of medical intervention and surgery, married Jane Hadipoespito. However, Jane’s parents denounced the marriage and filed this lawsuit against Alterina for fraud because his birth certificate, ID and family cards stated that he was a woman.

Via The Jakarta Post, I read that the trial continued on Monday with the judge collecting statements from the prosecutors’ witnesses, including government officials who:

[…] confirmed they received necessary documents, including birth certificate, from Alterina in 2007, as part of requirements to process the issuance of a family card.

“The birth certificate needed to make the family card stating Alterina was a male. Nothing was wrong,” one witness said.

Another of Alterina’s lawyers, Raymond Ratu Taga, said his client had followed every procedure to change his sex status to male.

“With the help of his mother, Alterina made the sex-status change on Dec. 18, 2006 in Jayapura, Papua, as he was born there,” he said, adding his client had never had any sex change surgery.

[…]

I imagine that Alterina could well do without the interjections from Benny Susetyo, secretary to the Indonesian Bishops’ Council (KWI), who is quoted (again, in The Jakarta Post) as follows:

“The Catholic Church bans marriage between people of the same sex”

Which is about the degree of intelligence and compassion I’ve come to expect from the Catholic Church; Mr Susetyo’s demonstration of his complete lack of understanding of intersex variations would be merely embarrassing were it not for the fact that, for whatever reason, the views espoused by his Church appear to carry some weight within the Republic of Indonesia, a pluralist country with a majority Muslim population.

Benny said the health problem could not justify the change in sex status. “Her [sic] DNA and genetics prove she [sic] is female, therefore she [sic] can be medically cured,” the priest said.

No, Mr Susetyo, his DNA and genetics prove that he is a 47XXY man and not that he is female. As I said last time:

It’s really quite frightening that non-intersex people have the power to ignore fundamental human rights in pursuit of the violent imposition of a socially constructed gender binary.

The trial continues and, notwithstanding the dangerously medieval attitudes of people like Mr Susetyo, I hope Alterina receives a just and fair treatment which respects his human right to bodily autonomy.

Alterina Hofan (Image via The Jakarta Globe)

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