By Patrick Tuimalealiifano
“UNJUST, UNEQUAL, UNSTOPPABLE: Fiji Lesbians, Bisexual women, Transmen and Gender non-binary people tipping the scales toward justice”
This ground-breaking report published by “DIVA for Equality” in May 2019 shows the pain as well as the joy of being lesbians, bisexual women, transgender men and people with non-conforming gender identity and expression in Fiji.
The ‘leave no one behind’ principle is especially relevant for LGBTQI people, who have been repeatedly left behind. Discriminatory laws, policies, and programs that don’t acknowledge their specific needs and negative social attitudes have all combined to hold LGBTI people back.
The impacts of this are felt by LGBTI communities in all parts of the world. Without inclusive processes, we will not be able to achieve the simultaneous eradication of poverty and significant reduction of inequality and exclusion.
Three decades of organized LGBTI community organizing in Fiji has shown that just like people around the world, LGBTI women and people in Fiji and the Pacific have severely suffered – We face the loss of life, freedom and peaceful existence at the hands of homophobic and transphobic people including in our own families and wider societies.
LBT and GNC people in the Pacific have experienced kindness, acceptance, love from others in the region, and there has been shared work for change. Many survive, and sometimes even thrive. But more times than not, we falter or collapse under the weight of human rights abuses and violence.
We have many struggle stories, but little evidence-based reports and analysis.
We have not had time, energy nor often inclination for this work, as we live and move through unfriendly social, economic and ecological systems. Sometimes it is enough to get up in the morning.
Like any other victims of human rights violations, LGBTI people in Fiji have the right to truth, rehabilitation, and reparation. This report is about continued and strategic truth-telling.
This report matters because it is about LBT and GNC people in Fiji building political will, offering evidence-based strategies to state and non-state actors, and building paths to justice and human rights, as we walk it.
Ultimately, this report exists to say: We are here. We are individuals, part of communities, kinship networks and families, societies, and wider social movements. This is what we experience daily and through our life cycles.
We are activists because we have to be, to survive and thrive. We have formed communities to develop evidence-based, informed, strong and expert views on our realities based on lived experience.
We call on the Fiji Government and everyone to act from this evidence, with compassion and with due attention to universal human rights, women’s human rights, and justice for all.
Access the report here.