Transgender Difficult to Access Pre-Employment Card; Bad Stories During a Pandemic

Shinta Ratri is one of the trans women whose life is disrupted during the pandemic. Of course, not only Shinta, as much as 60 percent of transwomen's income in Yogyakarta experienced a decline during the pandemic. Shinta is a leader of a transgender Islamic boarding school in Jogjakarta

“Because of the decrease in income, they feel like they are under pressure, stressed because they can’t pay their debts, there is no income, they have to hold back many desires. This pressure causes them to become emotional more easily, when they are joking, they get into fights, so they don’t greet each other,” Shinta said to

During the Covid-19 pandemic, the trans woman community then built solidarity to help the community. If the support they get is excessive, they also help the people who live in their social environment.

About 300 trans women are living in Yogyakarta. They can get help from the government, but what are the main requirements for getting help, they are difficult to get.

One of the things that hindered them from getting help from the government was not having an Identity Card/KTP. Another thing that makes it difficult is that the work of trans women in Yogyakarta is hampered by the existence of a regional regulation on vagrants and beggars because the regional regulation has the potential to criminalize trans women. Whereas in Yogyakarta alone, there are around 82 trans women who work as buskers. Many buskers are scratched, prohibited from working, even though a lot of their income is only from there.

To find out the current condition of the transgender community in various cities in Indonesia, tried to conduct a simple survey to support coverage of how transwomen live during the Covid-19 period. This survey does not describe the total number of transgender people because it is only filled out by 47 respondents, but this survey can be a description of the condition of transgender people during this year since Covid-19 spread in Indonesia.

The results of the survey found that out of 47 respondents who filled out the survey, only 29 respondents were aware of the existence of a pre-employment card. Shinta is one of 18 respondents who are not aware of the existence of a pre-employment card (Kartu Prakerja).

Shinta had indeed heard of the pre-employment card, but she heard from conversations with neighbors around where she lived, not from government socialization.

Transgender is one of the groups that have experienced the impact of life and the economy during the pandemic. Last October 2020, the Indonesian Transgender Network (JTID) launched a research report on transgender conditions in Indonesia during the pandemic. JTID found that the vulnerability of the transgender community was increasing due to the pandemic. In the study, they examined 438 transgender respondents from 11 provinces in Indonesia. On the economic side, transgender income, which averaged around IDR 4,308,425 before the pandemic, fell by more than half to an average income of only IDR 1,802,968. On the life side, they are also vulnerable to violence at work, including being arrested by the police, thugs, and residents.

At the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak in Indonesia, the transgender community began to take initiatives to help each other, for example by inviting the public to donate in the form of money and basic necessities, selling pre-loved goods, and others. The transgender community on average works in the informal sector so that their income is reduced during the pandemic and this makes them unable to buy food until they lose their homes.

What is the Pre-Employment Card for Transgenders?

To deal with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on workers, the government has also prepared a social safety net scheme, a pre-employment card program. On the website, there is an explanation that this program is used to prioritize laid-off workers/laborers as well as micro and small business actors affected by the pandemic.

The first phase of this program was opened in April 2020, until now it has reached 17 phases. The Management Report for the 2020 Pre-Employment Card Program stated that as of September 2020, incentives had been disbursed to reach Rp1.7 trillion.

TURC research says that this scheme has weak points. Not all affected workers in the category of poor, vulnerable, and towards the middle class (aspiring middle class) can easily access the scheme.

The survey then found that out of 47 respondents who filled out the survey, only 29 respondents were aware of the existence of a pre-employment card. Shinta is one of 18 respondents who are not aware of the existence of a pre-employment card. Shinta had heard of the pre-employment card, but she heard the term from conversations with neighbors around where she lived, not from government socialization.

“My environment is the environment of people who make crafts, so I don’t know information about pre-employment cards,” said Shinta.

From the results of’s interviews with several respondents, there are various reasons why transwomen do not try to access a pre-employment card, such as lack of money to buy internet data packages, difficulty with internet networks in the regions, not being confident or pessimistic about getting a pre-employment card, not having an ID card, not being able to do so. know how to access, and so on. also found other interesting things. Of the 15 respondents who accessed, only 3 people managed to get a pre-employment card. Denok is one of them. This transgender who lives in Surabaya participated in the 13th pre-employment card program which took place in March 2021. After creating a pre-employment card account, she then took a motivational and basic ability test. About a week later, she passed the selection and was registered as a beneficiary of the pre-employment card.

Denok said that after successfully qualifying, she received a job training assistance fund of 1 million rupiahs. She used the initial balance to buy training types on official digital platform partners. Each training is set at a price ranging from IDR 30,000 to IDR 1,000,000.00. According to Denok, pre-employment card recipients must be very careful in choosing the training that suits their needs.

“I took 3 pieces of training that time. Becoming a professional massage therapist for IDR 500,000, successful IG online business for IDR 250,000, and coffee shop management for IDR 250,000 too,” she explained to

The training material is in the form of videos with a duration of 3-10 minutes. After watching one video, she took a test with a minimum score of 60 to be able to move on to the next video. At the end of the entire video material session, there is a final test that must be followed with a minimum score of 60, otherwise, the material will be repeated from the beginning. Denok always gets a score of 80, and she was declared passed to get an electronic certificate.

Denok said she was grateful to be able to pass the pre-employment card. she really feels the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on her financial aspects. Before the pandemic, through her salon business, she was able to earn more than IDR 2,500,000.00. However, when the pandemic hit, her income immediately decreased in the range of IDR 1,000,000.00-IDR 1,500,000,-.

Furthermore, she is even more grateful that she passed the pre-employment card in batch 13. Not only did she receive a post-training incentive per month of IDR 600,000.00 for 4 months, and an incentive to survey and evaluate work programs of IDR 150,000.00, but she also received a special bonus incentive for Eid al-Fitr of Rp600,000.00.

“I also seemed lucky that I passed the pre-employment in batch 13. In the middle, there was the month of Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr. So, last May, I got the incentive 2 times. Getting THR is the term,” she explained.

“But it’s not a problem, it’s quite a six hundred thousand, in my opinion, this is a mission, a mandate that we must carry out, it doesn’t mean that we have registered, participated in the training, finished and waited for incentives, then we didn’t do anything about that, you know. I think it’s very wasteful. So really what I got was applied,” continued Denok.

Not much different from Denok, Rerey, a transwoman from Yogyakarta also applied the training materials to make cloth masks that she got from the pre-employment card program training. She passed the 7th batch in September 2020. Rerey, who at that time lost her job due to this pandemic, said that the pre-employment card was useful in helping her life. Although according to Rerey, with a nominal value of IDR. 600,000, he had to be careful in turning the money. Some of these incentives, she used to finance the business capital of cloth masks.

On the other hand, the experience of Denok and Rerey was not experienced by Angelina and the 11 trans women survey respondents who did not manage to get a pre-employment card. They failed to get a pre-employment card because there were always problems when registering such as a difficult internet network, errors in NIK, and others.

Out of the 11 transgender respondents who tried and failed, there were 29 respondents who from the beginning wanted to access the pre-employment card but couldn’t because they were unable to fulfill the administrative requirements for registration such as KTP and KK.

“Thank God, everything is there, Sis, ID card, family card, email, all of that is there,” said Denok.

ID card is the key

Anggun Pradesha, is one of the activists in Jakarta who fights for KTP for transgender. She emphasized that this ID card is important so that the transgender community can access basic services that are the right of every citizen.

“There is an incident, the head of the family can deactivate the NIK of his transgender child. One of our friends, at the time of recording her NIK came out, but it was disabled because her father turned it off. The solution was instead told to contact her parents asking for her NIK to be reactivated, while she ran away when she was a child because her family did not accept her identity,” said Anggun when contacted by telephone by “How can the state let its citizens not have ID cards and cannot access basic services?” she said.

Until now, Anggun together with other activists such as Hartoyo from Our Voice have helped at least recording the ID cards of around 300 transgender people in Jakarta. The presence of this ID card makes the transgender community happy.

Mayora or who is fondly called Bunda Mayora, a transgender activist and public official from Maumere, East Nusa Tenggara, said that so far, the transgender community has often been neglected from government assistance schemes because they do not have ID cards.

“Meanwhile, if our country wants to get assistance, it must have an identity card and family card,” Mayora told

She explained that this condition occurred because most transwomen ran away from home without carrying their existing identity. In fact, some of them did not have an ID card until they were old, so they were eventually excluded from the program provided by the government.

“The Ministry of Home Affairs has opened up opportunities to be able to take care of ID cards, it’s like a cool breeze for our community,” she said.

Mayora said that after getting an ID card, some transgender women were able to process direct cash assistance (BLT) and Cash Social Assistance (BST) services, but they had not been able to access pre-employment cards. The obstacles, she said, were the complicated process and unstable internet connection.

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a serious impact on the employment sector, especially on workers. BPS 2020 data explained that there were 29.12 million people of working age affected by Covid-19. From this data, there was an addition of 2.67 million additional unemployment from 2019 to 2020. In addition, data from the Ministry of Manpower in April 2020 stated that the total number of workers affected by Covid-19 was 2,084,593 workers both from the formal sector. and informal. The workers were laid off or exposed to Termination of Employment (PHK).

In May 2020, research by the Trade Union Rights Center (TURC) stated that during the pandemic, workers experienced three problems, namely reduced income, job loss, and uncertain health conditions of workers due to company demands to keep working. TURC also describes some of the situations of workers affected by the pandemic. Among them are workers who are laid off without severance pay, are laid off without full wages, continue to work without full wages, work from home with non-full wages, and are laid off with severance pay.

The team confirmed the findings from this survey to the Executive Director of Pre-Employment Card Program Management, Denni Puspa Purbasari. She replied that the process of implementing the pre-employment card must comply with the rules.

“According to Perpres and Permenko, PMO is on the side of daily operations. The Pre-Employment Policy is in the Job Creation Committee. PMOs must comply with regulations including e-KTP,” she said.

It is hoped that this survey can provide a record of minority groups and informal workers who still have difficulty accessing Pre-Employment Cards in Indonesia. Data shows that the number of informal workers in Indonesia is more than formal workers. According to data from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), the number of informal workers reached 78.14 million people in February 2021, while the data for formal workers was 52.92 million people in February 2021. Transgender people generally work in the informal sector, namely in salons, busking, etc. . By not getting this Pre-Employment Card, as well as the difficulty of accessing assistance, this is homework that the government should be able to complete.

(Ilustration: Freepik)

Tika Adriana dan Marina Nasution

Managing Editor
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