Gay language


I am reading Tom Boellstorff’s A Coincidence of Desires: Anthropology, Queer Studies, Indonesia, Gay Archipelago, Gay Language and Indonesia: Registering Belonging and Speaking in Queer Tongues: Globalization and Gay Language.

I am lost.

He rejects bahasa gay is a counter culture by arguing it is ‘a queer take on the dominant reality’. So, it is not a resistance against hegemony. He admits, though, in the twilight of Soeharto’s regime, traditional media started to promote and to ‘sprinkle their audience patters with bahasa gay’ through sinetron and entertainment programs (why Indonesia’s media didn’t do before it? I mean, before Soeharto’s fall?)

In another page, he explains that Indonesia gay people do not speak bahasa gay in front of family (Why?). One factor that leads him to conclude bahasa gay is not an alternative reality – is because, according to Boellstorff – gay people speak bahasa gay openly, not secretly (as usual how argots are being spoken). A bit confusing here, is – Boellstorff admits that gay people speak bahasa gay openly in a context like SALON (I believe, it should have been ‘a PARTICULAR context’, instead of ‘a context’). With all my respect, as an Indonesian, I know what conclusion will people create in their mind hearing words “men” and “salon” (moreover if I replaced ‘and’ with ‘working in’. I mean (or I judge) – that salon becomes a comfort zone for gay people to speak their bahasa gay, thus they don’t speak openly. Doesn’t he think it is an act of sneaking? And that could mean bahasa gay does not simply take on the dominant reality (to me).

Please explain.

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