Lesbian Indonesian singer bats away messages of hate to pen songs about acceptance of LGBT minority and respect for all

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04/25/2020

Indonesian singer and songwriter Kai Mata realised, as a teenager in Jakarta, she liked women more than men – but her realisation was quickly followed by disillusionment. “There seemed to be no support networks in place, and no one I knew in Indonesia was openly gay, bisexual – or anything but straight,” she recalls. “It felt so isolating and frightening. I grew to recognise the importance of visibility for minorities, and I have become a visible part of the LGBTQ+ community.” Using her platform as a musician, Kai – who now lives in Bali – sings pride anthems and incorporates gay revelations in her mostly acoustic, folksy songs, inspired by the work of US country singer Kacey Musgraves, who is known for her progressive stance on gay issues. Kai’s latest single, So Hard, is a plea for the acceptance of same-sex relationships, delivered in a synth-pop style and with witty lyrics: “No this isn’t just a phase/Doesn’t even work that way/You think you can turn me straight?/Well, maybe I can turn you gay/Oh, did I just cross a line?/Because you’ve been overstepping mine/It seems your masculinity/Suffers insecurity.”

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