For Obama's Transgender Ex-Nanny, Desolation

Indonesia's transgender population faces brutality, torment
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2012 8:45 AM CST

(Newser) – Indonesia is home to 7 million transgendered people who face ongoing harassment, rape, and murder—and Barack Obama's former nanny is among their ranks. Following years of abuse, Evie, born a man, decided to leave cross-dressing behind after a friend was brutally murdered in 1985, the AP reports, in an exclusive look at her predicament and the situation in Indonesia at large. Though the lifestyle is very much in the public eye—a major talk-show host is transgendered—attacks have mounted in recent years, and the country's top Islamic organization has condemned the transgender lifestyle, the AP reports. "They must learn to accept their nature" or "accept their fate to be ridiculed and harassed," says a top cleric.

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As a child, Evie dropped out of school and pursued a career in cooking, eventually finding work as a cook for Obama's mother in 1969. During that time, she became a de facto nanny to an 8-year-old Barack and sister Maya. And though she often went out at night dressed as a woman, "I never let him see me wearing women's clothes. But he did see me trying on his mother's lipstick, sometimes. That used to really crack him up." But after the family moved away, Evie fell on hard times and ultimately became a sex worker. Today, she says she doesn't "have a future anymore" and is simply counting down the days until she dies. Still, when she found out that Obama had become president, "I couldn't believe my eyes," she notes. "Now when people call me scum, I can just say: 'But I was the nanny for the president of the United States!'" (Read more Indonesia stories.)

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