Bissu As Heirloom Keeper: How Is Their Gender Identity Constructed?

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Asrul Nur Iman, Deddy Mulyana, Ahmad Gimmy Pratama S., Evi Novianti


Preserving Ancestral Heritage Is A Lifetime Duty Of The Bissu Community. They Are Also Blessed To Heal Sick People. Therefore, They Are Considered Sacred And Attributed A Special Identity By Common People Since Not Many People Destined To It. Another Interesting Fact About Bissu Is That It Combines Two Elements, Masculine And Feminine, In Their Daily Lives. How Is Their Daily Life As The Guardian Of Heirlooms? How Do They Construct Their Gender Identity? We Studied Their Life Experiences And How They Perceive Themselves As Transvestites. Ten Bissu Residing In Four Different Districts In South Sulawesi Province Were Involved As Subjects Of This Study. The Data Were Gathered Using In-Depth Interviews Carried Out For 18 Months. The Findings Indicated That They Are Required To Guard Heirlooms To Continue The Tradition From Their Ancestors. The Construction Of Their Gender Identity Was Represented By Their Verbal And Nonverbal Communication Behavior. Languages They Used Included Bahasa Bugis, Bahasa Calabai (Male Transvestites), And Bahasa To Ri Langi’; The Nonverbal Communication Was Shown Through Their Body Language And Physical Appearance When Performing Daily Activities And Traditional Ritual Ceremonies.


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