Controversy on the Acceptance of Transgender Characterization in the Movie “Lovely Man”

Achmad Zainal Abidin, Janitra Gustave Kinan, Myrtati D. Artaria

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Creating a transgender-themed movie in a Muslim majority country like Indonesia is indeed difficult to do. Although transgenderism is a social phenomenon, it remains too sensitive to be accepted by most of the society members. The presence of the movie “Lovely Man” comprises a courage to be present. This study was not intended to assess the public’s acceptance of transgender people but more to analyze the transgender community’s acceptance, including the controversy toward the overall role of the transgender character Saiful played by Donny Damara. This research applied the qualitative method with encoding/decoding reception analysis technique developed by Stuart Hall. The data collection was conducted by having an in-depth interview with the transgender community in Surabaya through the Surabaya transvestite group. The result of the study indicated that the transgender community in Surabaya accepted the success of the character Saiful who represented their lives as transgender in the movie “Lovely Man”. However, the characterization of Saiful also ignited controversy because it was not considered to be a representation of daily life for transgender people. Some of the notes on the controversies included: Saiful being less gentle, the use of wigs, the use of a low-pitched voice and sexual harassment, ie sodomy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMedia And Communication In The Politics, Industrialization, And Empowerment
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Post-Graduate Conference on Media and Communication (IPCOMC 2017)
ISSN (Print)2184-3651


  • Lovely Man
  • Movie
  • Reception
  • Social Identity
  • Transgender


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