Momentum is gathering for greater equality for LGBTI people in the Pacific Islands, especially because the situation is deteriorating there. A coalition of LGBTI advocates have come together to start a petition to push nations in the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) to create policies which would force member states ‘to support full inclusivity, equity and equality for all people of the Pacific’. Joey Joleen Mataele is one of Tonga’s and the region’s most high profile LGBTI advocates. She is also a founder of the Tonga Leitis Association (TLA) who work to shelter LGBTI youth. Leitis is the name of trans women in Tonga. ‘Things have actually gotten worse rather than better in recent years due to the influence of fundamentalist religious groups from abroad,’ Mataele told Gay Star News.
Although the constitution prohibits general discrimination, the government did not effectively enforce this provision, and the law confirms the special status of members of the royal family and the nobility. While social, cultural, and economic facilities were available to all citizens regardless of race and religion, members of... Expand
Although the constitution prohibits general discrimination, the government did not effectively enforce this provision, and the law confirms the special status of members of the royal family and the nobility. While social, cultural, and economic facilities were available to all citizens regardless of race and religion, members of the hereditary nobility had substantial advantages, including control over most land and a generally privileged status.
The law provides for the unequal treatment of women.
By law “sodomy with another person” is a crime with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, but there were no reports of prosecutions under this provision for consensual sexual conduct between adults, regardless of the gender of the parties. No laws specifically prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity or address hate crimes. No criminal justice mechanisms exist to aid in the prosecution of bias-motivated crimes against members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. Society accepted a subculture of transgender dress and behavior, and a prominent NGO’s annual festival highlighted transgender identities. There were no reports of violence against persons based on sexual orientation or gender identity, but social stigma or intimidation may have prevented incidents of discrimination or violence from being reported.
Source: U.S. Department of State's  Human Rights ReportContract
The Category Five Cyclone Gita which tore through the South Pacific island of Tonga was like having ‘an Airbus land on your front lawn’. One of the most powerful cyclones to hit Tonga, it has caused thousands of dollars in damage, including wiping out the national parliament. Experts estimate it could take years to rebuild the damaged properties. Henry ‘Aho is the president of Tonga Leitis Association (TLA). The TLA represents the lives of sexual and gender diverse people, especially those facing hardship. It has also spearheaded the island’s response to HIV among men who have sex men and transgender women. The TLA also runs a drop-in centre and shelter for LGBT youth rejected by their families and communities.
For the first time, Tonga's homosexual and transgender community will call on government leaders to revise legislation in order to protect LGBTI people in the deeply conservative country. Tonga's Leiti Association has planned a national consultation with government leaders in December to petition for changes to the Criminal Offences Act, which criminalises cross-dressing and sodomy, and can be punished with up to ten years in prison.
A gay Tongan Olympian has revealed in a video interview which teams comprise the most queer athletes, among other things. Swimmer, Amini Fonua, was asked by reporter and Gay Olympian Enthusiast, Charley Walters in a video interview what his experience of being a gay athlete at the Olympics was like: Fonua said it was “awesome” and “amazing” to be part of the Rio LGBT athletic community."
The group of gays, lesbians, transsexuals and homosexuals COLLEAGUES has warned in a statement on the list of " The 10 most ethical destinations for travel " promoted by an NGO called "Ethical Traveler" and being published in some Spanish media. Countries offered by the NGO Ethical Traveler as "ethical tourist destination" apply laws with very harsh penalties against homosexuals. In Dominicawhere it is 15 years and the possibility of treatment in a psychiatric institution while in the Caribbean also Granada penalties are up to 10 years in prison. In Tonga a punishment of 10 years climbing in is also set Tuvalu to 14. While Samoa shows a legislation which is not only punishable homosexual relationship, punishable by 5 years in prison, but also hosting gays, which punishes offenders with sentences of up to 7 years.
Many LGBTI youth experience dread entering their schools, fearing that taunting, exclusion and even violence may await. UNESCO, UNDP and Being LGBTI in Asia encourage parents, peers and teachers to join the #PurpleMySchool campaign aimed at creating safety for LGBTI youth in educational settings throughout Asia and the Pacific.
The United Nations has called for action in a new campaign against homophobia and transphobia in the Pacific Islands. Currently there are 77 countries where it is illegal to engage in any sexual activity with a person of the same sex. Eight of these countries are Pacific nations.
Delegations from across the Asia-Pacific region have committed to taking steps to address homophobic and transphobic bullying in their schools. As part of the initiative the #PurpleMySchool online campaign, which aims to promote safe spaces for LGBTI students, was launched.
Tonga is distinguished for being the sole monarchy in the South Pacific. This unique status has been a blessing for the indigenous transgender community in the archipelago. Adopting the local...
Tonga's Leitis in WaitingRead Story
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