JAKARTA, Indonesia – A 66-year-old transgender woman in Indonesia, living in fear in the streets because of her sexual identity, tells The Associated Press in an exclusive story that she was once the nanny to President Barack Obama and his baby sister, Maya.
The White House declined to comment on the story about Evie, who is listed as a male named Turdi on birth certificate and national identity documents, “but believes that she is female.”
Evie says that she met Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham, in 1969 at a cocktail party. That was about two years after Dunham had married her second husband, Lolo Soetoro of Indonesia, and moved with him to Jakarta. The story goes that Dunham was smitten with Evie’s cooking and hired her to help take care of her 8-year-old son and baby daughter.
Neighbors at the time said Evie often left the Soetoro home dressed in women’s clothing, but Evie told AP that she did not think her young charges ever knew about that.
“He was so young,” Evie said of Obama. “And I never let him see me wearing women’s clothes. But he did see me trying on his mother’s lipstick, sometimes. That used to really crack him up.”
The family returned to the United States in the early 1970s.
For Evie, life has been difficult. She told AP that she has endured a lifetime of taunts and beatings because of her identity. When a transgender friend’s body was found floating in a canal, Evie said she gave up her life as a transgender woman.
There are an estimated 7 million transgender people in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world with a population of 240 million. For details on LGBT rights in Indonesia, click here.
To read the AP exclusive on Evie, click here.