This profile was prepared when John Badalu was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2008.
The New Idea
John has built a platform for public discussion of homosexuality to encourage discussion and increase tolerance in Indonesian society. Using film as vehicle to bring people together, John launched an annual Queer Film Festival in several major Indonesian cities, in which a series of quality films are screened and public discussions are hosted. The Q! Film Festival was created to engage the general public in a stigmatized issue, prompting open exchanges and promoting understanding of LGBT issues. The Q! Film Festival and corresponding activities are organized and run by hundreds of volunteers. The Festival gives LGBT individuals (among others) an opportunity to work together for a common goal, and plays a powerful role in transforming LGBT volunteers’ understanding of themselves as full citizens who can live purposeful, profitable lives. For many volunteers, participation in this community transforms their roles in society, prompting them to pursue new activities and passions. As the Q! Film Festival expands to cover new issues (including the rights of Chinese minorities, which is another contentious issue in Indonesia) and to new cities, opportunities for volunteer engagement will continue to expand.