Archbishop Loy Chong – transgender people of equal value

The Archbishop of Suva, Peter Loy Chong says Catholics in Fiji treats various gender communities with equal value.

“For us, everyone is the same and this has also been addressed by the Pope, who made special reference to members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transexual and intersex (LGBTI) community,” he said.

The archbishop is one of a number of church leaders in Fiji who have spoken out about the need for transgender women to be treated with respect and dignity.

A recent case of a 22-year-old transgender woman, who was raped and burnt to death in Turkey earlier this week, has highlighted the dangers faced by the transgender community all over the world.

The Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma’s secretary for communications Reverend James Bhagwan said no one, regardless of gender, ethnicity or religion deserved to be treated in this manner.

Methodist Church president Reverend Tevita Banivanua said this fear and prejudice for people who were different were shameful.

Arya Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji’s media relations officer Kamlesh Arya said the organisation believed every human being was entitled to the rights of freedom, human dignity and freedom of association.

Sulique Waqa a transgender feminist and indigenous Fijian said,”Although we are seeing a marked increase in public awareness about transgender people, we are still part of a community that experiences high rates of unemployment, poverty and violence.”

Waqa said certain venues and public spaces in Fiji were hostile areas for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersexual and queer  community (LGBIQ).

She has worked on LGBIQ community issues of the Pacific region for over 15 years.

Waqa founded the Haus of Khameleon, a transgender led feminist movement that is lobbying, campaigning, organising, researching, training and advocating for transgender equality in Fiji and the Pacific.


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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