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Shinta Ratri, Fighter for Transgender Rights in Indonesia, Dies at 60

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Shinta Ratri, the leader of an Islamic boarding school that offers a haven for transgender women in Indonesia, died on Feb. 1 in Yogyakarta, a city on the Indonesian island of Java.

She was 60. A colleague at the school, Rully Malay, said the cause of her death, in a hospital, was a heart attack. Ms. Shinta, who had transitioned as a teenager, founded the school, Pesantren Waria al-Fatah, in 2008, along with two colleagues, as a retreat and a place to pray.

For transgender women in this largely Muslim nation, discrimination is particularly acute at mosques, where men and women generally pray separately. “In the public mosque we made people uncomfortable.

We needed a safe place for trans women to pray,” Ms. Shinta told The Guardian in 2017. “In here you can be with a women’s clothes or men’s clothes, it’s up to you,” she added. “It depends how comfortable you are.” As many as 40 students at a time have attended the school, with several of them living there as boarders.

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