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.

6 comments:

KSmith said...

I think that it would be interesting to look at other cultures that have a third gender, such as India, the Navajo, etc. HIV/AIDS was not around when the Navajo were populous in America, but it would be interesting to look at how accepting the religions were of these third genders around the world. It seems that religion in the Western World, mostly Christianity, is not accepting of homosexuality, and does not even provide for the option of a third gender. Do the religions of other Pacific Islanders or other Asian cultures allow for these? The correlations might show a larger trend of acceptance, or a lack thereof.

kemyers said...

The idea of a fa'afaine is an interesting one, especially because as far as I know, I'm not sure of any other cultures that have a third gender, let alone accept it so openly. It was also very interesting to see that there is a small percentage of Asian pacific islanders that were diagnosed with AID/HIV according to the pie chart. In the western world, homosexuality is not as openly accepted in religion and other religious groups in the United States. However for this population the dangers of AIDS and HIV is not as well known, and like you said is being overlooked in the culture. Overall through religious groups it would be interesting to know what is accepted in other smaller communities such as Samoans.

blloyd said...

I was shocked by this third gender of fa'fafini because I had never heard of it before and had no idea they even existed. But after reading this blog I feel the same way and feel that the churches should give them equal rights. They also should be aware of HIV/AIDS and their personal risk of contracting it.

Rickey Moody said...

this is kind of interesting because you wouldnt think that aids/hiv would be a problem here, but then again it is a worldwide disease that effects everyone. i want to know if these fa'afini protect themselves from contracting these diseases or how they go about choosing their mates. very interesting post.

LNFAW said...

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