Young men, there’s no need to feel down, because there’s a place you can go: Brondongmanis.com.
Named after the Indonesian slang word for sweet, younger men, the website aimed to reach out to young gay, transgender and other male having sex with male (MSM), and provide information on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).
Launched in 2012, Brondongmanis.com is founded by young activist Setia Perdana, who was concerned with the vulnerability of these groups, but saw that there was barely any media that speaks their language in conveying their message. Setia said
that mainstream media mostly approached the issue by focusing on the danger or disease, making them less appealing for them.
Brondongmanis wanted to fill in the gap by providing information in a fun and light way. The content may be serious, but it is far from patronizing or condescending. The site features articles and videos about teenagers’ lifestyle and love life, offers tips and information on how to be responsible as well as how to empower themselves – standing up against bullying, responding to derogatory jokes and terms like ‘bencong’ or sissy, and so on.
The work of Setia and friends, whose sites are linked to Brondongmanis.com, is important as HIV infections among MSM have gone up from 2.4 percent in 2002 to 12.4 percent nationwide in 2011, according the most recent Integrated Biological-Behavioral Surveillance (IBBS) report.
Worse still, according to the report, the infection rates in Jakarta and Bali can go as high as 19 percent, which means one out of every five men in this group are HIV positive.