Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Week 12

HIV and AIDS awareness is a huge trend that has been overlooked by the Asian and Pacific Islander communities. This is especially so for the fa'afafine. July 19th, 2007 the Fa'afafine Association met to discuss HIV/AIDS related issues taking place in Apia (the capital of Samoa). For example churches in the South Pacific region teach their respective members to live by the word of God. This word of God is the bible and no where in the bible does it allow for homosexual, let alone a third separate gender of the fa'afafine. These particular churches struggle with these issues of HIV/AIDS due to sexual orientation and gender identity. They often find it difficult to communicate to communities most at risk of infection, so says Rachael Le Mesurier (Executive Director of the New Zealand AIDS Foundation).

The one thing this meeting did was it recognized the equal human rights of fa'afafine. The fa'afafine is a third gender and they need to convince the church to give them equal rights. They must do this because of the influences churches have on most decisions especially in the South Pacific. Without these basic equal rights they will never be fully aware of the epidemic of HIV/AIDS that is increasingly taking over our minority population.