A dream full of unicorns and sparkles, rainbows and fairies
Tamani is a 23-year-old strong transqueer activist from Fiji who believes in a magical world where people are not boxed or categorized but rather people are liberated and celebrated for who they are. She represents the Pacific in the IGNITE! Mentorship program of YVC. She was part of Fiji Youth Parliament and also works with the Rainbow Pride Foundation of Fiji as its Communication & Advocacy Officer. Tamani is currently working on setting up a Rainbow Association at her University to mobilize more young people for LGBT rights movement. Coming from a country that has constitutionalized the rights of sexual and gender minorities, Tamani believes that Fiji still has a long way to go to implement these constitutional rights in a practical level. Fiji is one of the first countries in the Asia and Pacific region that has recognized the rights of gender and sexual minorities in its constitution.
“Many young LGBT people still face stigma and discrimination from their families and society. They still become homeless and face violence and abuse” says Tamani explaining the plight of many young LGBT people in Fiji. “One of the major concerns we have is that most LGBT young people are not aware of their rights and hence it is difficult to mobilise them to act together” further explains Tamani.
Tamani’s small scale project focuses on mobilizing and building the capacity of selected young LGBT people in Fiji to contribute to the larger advocacy efforts talking place within the country. Two workshops will be held in Lautoka (Western Division) & Suva (Central-Eastern Division) in Fiji. The participants will be trained on gender and sexuality, human rights, advocacy and community mobilizing.
The trained participants will come together to organize a campaign for the World Mental Health day highlighting the mental health issues faced by young LGBT people resulted by stigma, discrimination, violence and abuses they face everyday. “We face number of mental health challenges and these are not taken seriously, particularly if you are identified as someone with a diverse gender and sexual orientation” said Tamani. “My aim is to bring these issues in to surface during the World Metal Health day” she further mentioned.
Written by Niluka Perera