Gay activist braves social curbs to help marginalized

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08/27/2020

Gay activist Hartoyo has had to overcome both physical and virtual curbs on his movement so that he may continue to feed the urban poor, persecuted members of the LGBT community as well as women and children – population groups that are the worst affected by the pandemic. The 43-year-old founder of rights advocacy group Suara Kita was used to financing aid programs through the in-house SriKendes boutique, which sells original, traditional motif clothing that can fetch Rp 50 million to Rp 60 million (US$3,400 to $4,080) every month, mostly during exhibitions. But when Jakarta entered a de facto lockdown in April, the exhibitions stopped, and Hartoyo began tinkering with Facebook, setting up a namesake “Har Toyo” account. He eventually settled on a new fundraising model: auctioning pre-loved clothes, handbags and shoes on Facebook Live.

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