109. love who you love: horizontal with indonesia’s openly LGBTQ+ singer-songwriter [1 of 2]
Play • 1 hr 33 min

Hello horizontal lovers.

horizontal is consensual eavesdropping on conversations about intimacy of all kinds, recorded while lying down, wearing robes.

In this and the following episode, I lie down with Kai Mata, Indonesia’s rainbow-toting, openly LGBTQ+ singer-songwriter. She is a thoughtful rock star, an articulate activist, a love advocate, an outspoken woman with a bamboo guitar living a love life of liberation in a country that expects its women to be neither outspoken nor liberated. I love her. And her meter-long hair.

Kai wears maroon and black almost exclusively, right down to her motorbike helmet. She displays or wears a rainbow flag at every single show, at every single gig, and she will continue to do so until all of her people are free to love who they love.

She battles internet trolls, social media harassment, hate messages, homophobia, discrimination, and erasure by her culture of origin on a daily basis. She is publicly out in a country that persecutes its LGBTQ+ citizens. She is out for all of her fellow Indonesians who cannot be yet, in the hopes of a new era in which they all can feel safe to be.

By the way, she’s 22 years-old.

I first encountered Kai through a Facebook post she made, raising awareness of the persecution of anybody with a queer identity in Indonesia, and the government’s attempt to slip their discrimination into law.

These are Kai’s words, posted on February 21st, 2020:

I need your help.

Indonesia is trying to label all LGBTQ+ people as deviants dangerous to society, legally requiring us to go to conversion therapy.

I am one of the only publicly LGBTQ+ Indonesian Women🏳‍🌈🇮🇩. Why are there so few of us?

Because my beautiful country has created a society and laws that ostracize and discriminate against my beautiful rainbow community🥺.

This flaming heart breaks with the new “Family Resilience Bill” draft in Indonesia. I am truly in tears.

This new bill would define any LGBTQ+ Member as a sexual deviant. It would require mandatory reporting to the government of anyone suspected to be LGBTQ+.

Those who are reported would then be forced into conversion therapy to be “treated.”

This draft is supported by four major political parties in Indonesia, who claim gays interfere with the future of humanity. It pains me knowing they choose not to realize the humanity within those of us who might love someone of the same gender.

And so I sit in Indonesia, my homeland, with the thought of fleeing ringing in my mind, fearful for my livelihood and scared as to how Indonesia can be developing so quickly with its economy and middle class, yet degenerating with basic human rights.

What booms even louder than my fear: the recognition of the choice I have to stay, the advantage of an international support, and the privilege of a voice.

These laws, regardless if passed, are meant to silence us. And it’s worked at keeping 99% of the LGBTQ+ Indonesians in the closet, frightened by not just legal implications, but the social suicide of coming out and being viewed as the shame of the family. Had I been born in a different situation, I’d be in the closet too.

And thus, I am rooted in my country with a clear message.

I am Indonesian🇮🇩. I am LGBTQ+🏳‍🌈.

And I am proud of both. They can threaten me and tell me I deserve to die. They can put me in conversion therapy or put me in jail. Nothing will change the fact I am Indonesian and I am flaming gay.

If you’re reading all the way down here, thank you for listening. I encourage you to please share this message to your friends, family, and anyone you know, especially those traveling to Indonesia. This isn’t a solo project. We need a choir of voices singing this message.

Update: please help by sharing (spreads the message for we need the world to recognize what's going on), commenting (it shows support to all the Indonesians like myself who are feeling scared and isolated) and signing this petition: http://chng.it/nGVCh79W2J

That’s the conclusion of Kai’s post from February 2020. This quote “Family Resilience” Bill would require families to turn in their non-heterosexual members for conversion therapy. Let me say that one more time. It would require you to turn in your trans sister,  your gay brother, your lesbian aunt, your bisexual daughter, your pansexual cousin — to be tortured by the government, in the name of families.

In this, the first part of our conversation, we talk about the persecution of Chinese Indonesians, Kai’s California childhood, falling in love for the first time (and with a girl), coming out before she was ready, songwriting as emotional awareness, high school in Jakarta, a fateful spring break in Bali, public displays of affection in Indonesia, tourists & nudity in Bali, cultural sensitivity & admitting our privilege, modesty, menstruation, temples, & tampons, the illegality of sex toys, and the fact that our current sexual partners don’t define our sexual orientation.

Each horizontal recording is between 3 and 5 hours long, and divided in two to four parts. My recording with Kai was around 3 hours long, so this episode, 109, the first part of our recording, is available in all the podcast places, and next week’s episode, 110, the second part, will be available exclusively to patrons of the horizontal arts.

Patronage makes it possible for me to share these intimate conversations with the world. Patreon is like the Love Child of crowd-funding and a subscription service. Navigate directly to www.patreon.com/horizontalwithlila (you cannot search for horizontal on the Patreon site, because all adult creators are hidden on the website — letting us know just how far we still have to go), so click the link or type patreon.com/horizontalwithlila in your browser, and become a patron of the horizontal arts. Your patronage keeps horizontal independent and uncensored, as well as unlocking access to all the part twos, the secret patrons Facebook group, & intimacy tips videos like the Inner Mentor visualization.

Here are some of my commitments during this American Revolution, during Pride month, and beyond:

I commit to further amplifying the voices of people with marginalized identities — Black people, People of Color, people in the LGBTQ+ community, and more folx, whose voices are squelched, censored, under-represented, or unheard, in the United States and across the planet. 

I commit to loving them fiercely and uplifting them in all the ways that I can. 

I commit to showing this love personally, by caring for the beloveds I cherish. 

I commit to showing this love at large, through anti-racist action that calls for justice in myriad ways, including, but not limited to— 

  • donating to anti-racist organizations
  • donating directly to folx in need— such as through The Black Fairy Godmother Official’s Instagram — 
  • using horizontal to express anti-racist and pro-Pride statements
  • listening to and broadcasting the stories of Black people, Indigenous people, People of Color, and LGBTQ+ folx in all mediums
  • listening to, reading, watching, and financially supporting work created by and starring marginalized folx
  • participating in education on anti-racism, led by BIPOC, and LGBTQ+ folx
  • continuing to unveil and excavate my own racism throughout my life.

This episode was mixed and mastered by Irving Gadhoury from IGrecording.com

My cover art is by Shana Shay — find her on 99 designs. 

This remix of my original intro music was created by the beatbox musician kidmental. I first came across kidmental when he remixed Ear Hustle’s theme song. He is a self-contained orchestra. He is a Black creator you can support right now. Get a theme song of your very own by commissioning him on Fiverr, or become his patron on patreon.com/kidmental

If you have an LGBTQ+ friend living in an intolerant place, or among people who provide little support for their true identity, would you share this episode with them? They are not alone. People like Kai are fighting for their right to love who they love.

In next week’s episode, the second part of my conversation with Kai Mata, we discuss Kai’s ideal relationship, the Bali cacao ceremony, age discrepancies & the sexiness of power, the dream marriage tour, Indonesia’s proposed “family resilience bill,” how existing laws are currently used to target Indonesian queers, Kai’s intolerance escape plan, turning her adversity into an advantage, & a story about the self-proclaimed greatest dancer in the world.

To listen to next week’s episode, become a patron of the horizontal arts by navigating directly to patreon.com/horizontalwithlila

And to find out about all things horizontal, including upcoming workshops, my How to Connect course, and Intimacy Advice sessions, sign up for my email missives on horizontalwithlila.com.

Until next time: may you have someones to love, something to do, and something to look forward to. I’m looking forward to leading a workshop on 20 Emotional Release Techniques at the Virtual Intimacy Retreat July 10th - 12th!

Now, my horizontal lover, come lie down with us in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

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