Doctor: A long way to go for LGBTQ equality

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Dr Biumaitotoya of Transgender Fiji Network talks to the media during the workshop at Tanoa Plaza Hotel yesterday. Picture: RAMA

Fiji’s growth in achieving transgender rights and freedom is less than 1 per cent, says founder of Transgender Fiji Network, Dr Isireli Biumaitotoya.

Dr Biumaitotoya said Fiji had a long way to go to achieve equal treatment of transgenders.

“Revolving around a little pool of muddy water where people don’t have clear thinking and don’t have education, so much fear, so much vilification and hate. We have a long way to go to progress,” said the doctor.

After observing the treatment of transgenders, the doctor regarded Fijian society as “homophobic”.

Dr Biumaitotoya highlighted that despite having a law that protects them, the views of society and its leaders contradicted its practice.

“Our 2013 Constitution protects sexual orientation, gender identity and expressions and part of it is gay marriage but our major politicians are restricting it which reflects a flaw in our system.”

Dr Biumaitotoya said religious principles played a vital role in deciding the treatment of transgenders in society.

“Society takes its knowledge from its religion and many of our teachings in our homes for our young people are different, they are already being taught to look down on LGBTQ people.”

Through the Development of the Fiji National Gender Based Violence Shelter Standards workshop, Dr Biumaitotoya aims to raise the voice of transgenders and address the challenges faced by them.

“I wish to add our voice as trans-women where the shelter for women also includes trans-women whose needs are quite different.”

Meanwhile, Transgender Fiji Network is an organisation that looks after the needs of transgender people.

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