Gay Language or Lavender Linguistics in Indonesia

Author: Wisnu Adihartono ( Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, France)
Speaker: Wisnu Adihartono
Topic: Language, Gender, Sexuality
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL CALA 2020 General Session


Stereotypes are frequently presented and developed through distinctive characteristics assigned by a respective community. These stereotypes are produced and constructed to become a system of social representation. More so, gender stereotypes become characterized by non-physical attributes, such as power differentials. Yet gay communities appear to position individuals through different mechanisms, as evidence by gay or lavender languages. Within these communities, individuals largely construe lavender languages as juxtaposable with “sixth sense telepathy” or sixth sense telephones. According to Gilbert, Pelham and Krull (1988), initial identification by members of these communities is by “characterizing,” or through characterization stages, wherein they prefer initial depictions over conventionalized stereotypes. Subsequently, gay language or lavender linguistics lose potency, where symbolisms of “gesture” become highly specific.

This study observes certain attributes of Lavender language, in order to expose factors that position and describe “gayness”. Gay languages and lavender lingisyics find limited use outside of gay communities. Gay language or lavender linguistics afford individuals opportunities to become ambiguous in both expression and reception of language, and hence this becomes a “guessing” communication. As part of this pilot study, this paper will review general frameworks of gay language or lavender linguistic with respective to Indonesian gay communities. To aid this research, I draw from literature, and from interviews of ten Indonesian men within gay communities in Jakarta, Indonesia. I also draw from literature of both Indonesian lavender linguistics and global gay communication to supplement my work.

Keywords: Gay language, Lavender linguistic, Guessing, Gesture, Indonesia