This report presents the findings from a peer-led study on the rights and social experiences of trans and gender diverse people in Fiji, Samoa, and Papua New Guinea. The purpose of the study was to increase the body of evidence on the experiences of trans individuals, including information on employment, education, access to services, as well as their experiences in the family and social environments that promote and/or hinder community resilience and acceptance.
Trans and gender-diverse people in each of the three countries were trained to conduct the survey to capture the experiences of 155 trans people across the three countries. There has been very limited research on the experiences of trans and gender-diverse people in the Pacific beyond HIV/AIDS behavioural or prevalence studies or as a very small component of more general research across the Asia Pacific region. This research has been adapted from Transgender Europe’s (TGEU)’s Transrespect versus Transphobia (TvT) Project: The social experiences of trans and gender-diverse people in 8 countries; Colombia, India, the Philippines, Serbia, Thailand, Tonga, Turkey and Venezuela.6 In the Pacific, the study builds on the findings from the research led by the Tonga Leitis Association in 2015 on the experiences of trans and gender-diverse people in the region. This research attempts to highlight some of the experiences of trans and gender-diverse people in the Pacific through quantitative and qualitative data about their human rights situation. In amplifying their voices, we aim to build an evidence base for international, regional, and country-based advocacy.
This report provides an analysis of the data gathered across Fiji, Samoa, and PNG. It aims to provide a better understanding of how political, legal, religious, cultural, and social structures can impact the social and lived experiences of trans and gender diverse people both negatively and positively. This analysis also provides an essential foundation for understanding the barriers to and enablers of individual and community resilience, and will additionally provide a rich database of knowledge to inform policies, programs, and practices.
The recommendations provided with this study, while not exhaustive, provide a framework to build on to enable the sharing of positive experiences across countries and support good practices, policy advocacy, and programming.