Where are trans people? How do I meet and date a trans single? In some cities, trans people are everywhere. They are visible and have normal lives. Jakarta is not one of those cities. In a recent study, just 3% of Indonesians stated the homosexual community was “acceptable.” Only Pakistan ranked lower than Indonesia in tolerance and acceptance.

In Jakarta, most trans singles are invisible. They live in ‘stealth’, hiding their true identity. Indonesia is a Muslim country with strict, restrictive laws. Trans people may face jail time if they are open.

There are some trans-friendly bars, pubs, and lounges in the Indonesian capital, but you’ll find mostly escorts there. Cross-dressing is not illegal like in most Islamic countries. Many Waria, which means trans people in Indonesian, work in beauty parlors and entertainment. There are even several local transsexual celebrities.

The good news for trans people in the country is that they are allowed to change their gender on official documents after surgery. They are then also allowed to marry a person of the same biological sex.

The safest way to find trans singles in Jakarta is through dating sites like Indonesian Cupid, Jakarta Backpage, My Transsexual Date, and My Ladyboy Date. These sites have a lot of #Waria profiles. These women are often interested in a serious relationship with a Western man. You can try general sites as well. One place local Waria hang out is at a gay bar called Apollo in downtown Jakarta, which has regular drag and other performances. Still, the internet is the best place to start in this conservative city.

When you decide to meet someone in person, always do so in the privacy of a rented home or hotel room. If it is the latter, ask the staff about the establishment’s policy on meeting trans people on their premises. It will be awkward, especially if you need to explain a lot because of language barriers, but ultimately it’s better than finding out it was unacceptable after the fact. They might even call the police given transsexuals’ ambiguous legal status.

Read profiles carefully to learn as much as you can about what type of relationship the people are looking for. Some people interested in dating trans singles are confused about their own sexual orientation, which is an additional hurdle. If you’re one of them, we recommend basing it not on your genital, but on your gender attraction. For instance, if you’re a straight cisgender male attracted to ladyboys, your straight identity would not change even if the woman has not undergone reassignment surgery.