Samoa's Fa'afafine Week To Address Issues Facing Transgender Community

HIV prevention, online bullying, media portrayal issues to be highlighted

By Lanuola Tupufia – Ah Tong

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, Nov. 24, 2016) – The fa’afafine community in Samoa will celebrate a whole week dedicated to them and addressing the issues they face, starting from the 1st until 10th December. 

President of the Samoa Fa’afafine Association, So’oalo Roger Stanley, said the inaugural Fa’afafine Week - looks to honour and celebrate the achievements of fa’afafine. 

So’oalo said the event would be an opportunity to address issues pertaining to fa’afafine. Such issues include bullying on social media, how fa’afafine feature themselves on social media as well as how the media portrays them. 

“The week is to celebrate us and our achievements and work not only in the community but government and other areas,” he said.

“The fa’afafine week is the first of its kind and a national celebration to mark over three decades of advocacy.

“It’s about challenging the status quo by pioneering a unique social movement for positive social change in HIV and AIDS Prevention Human Rights and Gender Equality.”

Guided by the theme “Persevere in Life and Serve with Love,” the celebration is scheduled to kick off with a dawn candlelight service on the Apia black sand waterfront. 

The service will honour victims of HIV/AIDS and those living and fighting the virus. 

As part of the advocacy work, So’oalo said they would be installing condom dispensers in nightclubs as well as awareness programmes to promote HIV prevention.

 The fa’afafine community will also be doing charity work during that week for the Carmelite nuns, Mapuifagalele and childrens' pediatric ward to name a few. 

A forum to address issues and discuss  a way forward for fa’afafine will also be part of the weeklong event. 

The event is funded by the British High Commission, Asia Pacific Bilateral Programme Fund, USAID, the Ministry of Health and Civil Society Partners. 

Samoa Observer
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