Intersex man charged with gender fraud in Indonesia
 

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posted Friday, May 21, 2010 - Volume 38 Issue 21

Intersex man charged with gender fraud in Indonesia
by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

An Indonesian man is now on trial in Indonesia, charged with deliberately falsifying his gender identity so he can marry a woman.

Alterina Hofan's trial began May 17.

Doctors say Hofan has Klinefelter's syndrome, a rare condition where a man has an extra X chromosome, giving him some female characteristics.

Mr. Hofan's mother told BBC News that when he was born doctors identified him as female, so he was registered and brought up as a girl.

Hofan always acted like a boy, his mother said, and when he was 2 years old he began to develop male genitalia.

Hofan says he always identified as a man and as he grew older, he had several operations to reduce the feminine aspects of his appearance.

In 2006, he petitioned to have his gender changed on identity documents, and legally became a man.

In 2008, he married Jane Hadipoespito in the United States.

Her mother objected to the relationship, however, and filed charges against him accusing him of falsifying his identity documents and defrauding her daughter.

Hofan's wife says she knows all about his past and does not want to be separated from him.

"All I want is for my husband to be freed as soon as possible," she told the Jakarta Post newspaper.

The case became even more complicated when Hofan was arrested.

He was originally sent to a male prison, but police ruled he was a woman after DNA testing revealed the extra X chromosome, and he was moved to a female detention facility.

The staff at the women's prison ruled he was a man, however, and therefore could not be housed with women prisoners.

He is now being held in solitary confinement in the women's prison.

Indonesia's National Commission on Human Rights criticized authorities for their treatment of Hofan.

"He has the right to say he is a man," Josep Adi Prasetyo told the Jakarta Post.

Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim country, but most Indonesian Muslims follow "modernist" schools of Islamic thought.

Same-sex sexual relations are legal everywhere except for Aceh province at the northern tip of Sumatra, where sharia law is in effect. Same-sex marriage is not legal, however.

Some local governments have laws forbidding cross-dressing.

If the court finds Hofan to be a woman, his marriage would be nullified and he might face some additional penalties for dressing as a man, but he would not be prosecuted for having had sexual relations with his wife.



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