Tahiti LGBT Community Mindful Of Gay Marriage Debate

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National legislation could allow for same-sex marriage, adoption

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Jan. 31, 2013) – French Polynesia is closely watching the early stages of a two week debate in France on whether to legalize marriage and adoption for same sex couples.

There have been huge demonstrations in recent weeks against the French President's 'Marriage for All' bill, which is part of his election campaign.

The gay community and transgender people, known as 'raerae' in Tahiti, are following the developments in France.

Sabrina Birk, a politician in Tahiti, has told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat both communities want the right to adopt children.

"When you get old, you want to have the right to be loved by your children, and when we look at older people, they always have their children around them," she said.

"When you look at homosexuals and when you look at the raeraes, they grow old all by themselves."

Ms. Birk says while the transgender community in French Polynesia still face discrimination when it comes to employment, but there are signs of that changing.

She says there is now more exposure in the media, and some young raerae are able to attend school openly.

"It all depends on certain teachers - some teachers accept, some don't," she said.

"Mentalities are changing, but the older generation...these are the people that are against the expression of femininity in matters of raeraes.

"They would like the raeraes to dress as men, have men's names and cut their hair very short like men."

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