Jakarta. There were debates over the Islamic funeral procedures after trans woman Dorce Gamalama passed away while being treated for Covid-19 at the age of 58 but relatives finally agreed she should be buried as a man.
Dorce died on Wednesday morning after being treated for three weeks at Pertamina Simprug Hospital in South Jakarta. Relatives said she had underlying conditions that led to severe complications of the Covid-19 infection.
“Based on the discussion involving all related parties, including the family, she will be prayed and buried under Islamic procedures as a man,” Anan Muhajir, a spokesman for the family, said prior to the funeral.
Male Muslims prayed for the deceased who was kept inside the ambulance to follow Covid-19 protocol in East Jakarta. The ritual took place near the Al Hayyu mosque which was built and donated to the local community by Dorce.
She was buried later in the day at Bantarjati Public Cemetery in East Jakarta.
When she became ill from diabetes and kidney stones last year, Dorce publicly said that she wished to be buried as a woman. But she also said it was up to religious leaders to determine her gender for the burial.
“I want to be buried the way I am. I have become a woman since the surgery so I should be bathed [and buried] as a woman," she said.
Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) Chairman Muhammad Cholil Nafis said on Twitter that Dorce was born a man and the burial must be treated as such according to Islamic law.
But Taufik Damas, a scholar with the country’s biggest Muslim organization Nahdlatul Ulama, stated that gender identity is a “personal choice” and Dorce must be identified as a woman according to her own wish.
Dorce was born as Dedi Yuliardi Ashadi in the West Sumatra town of Solok on July 21, 1963.
She underwent surgery for physical alteration in the East Java capital of Surabaya in 1983 and the Surabaya District Court granted her request to legally change her gender. The verdict was later upheld by the Supreme Court.
Dorce has starred in at least four movies and two television serials since 1989, while also hosting a national TV program called “Dorce Show” between 2005 and 2009.
She sparked controversy after attending the funeral of terror convict Imam Samudera, who was executed by the firing squad in 2008 for a key role in the 2002 Bali bombings that killed more than 200 people.
Dorce said at that time Imam “is going to heaven” as a martyr.