Let’s create the space to openly discuss, understand, and address the unique challenges faced by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex+ community which continues to face social stigma, discrimination, harassment and violence.
This is the message from the Founder of Pacific Recycling Foundation and Director of Waste Recyclers Fiji, Amitesh Deo, in celebrating Pride Month.
Pride Month is designated to recognise the accomplishments of the LGBTQI+ community and their struggles.
Deo says while many claim that we are moving toward a progressive, free and fair society where people's rights are protected and where people can celebrate their diversity and inclusivity, they continue to hear horror stories of degrading and inhumane acts against vulnerable communities.
He says he recently participated in a global seminar for informal waste-picking communities where a transgender woman shared stories from her country on how she was always asked for sexual favours and in this case, a man would only allow her to enter the dumpsite after she would have performed oral sex on him.
He also says the transgender woman told the audience that this was the only way to get inside the dumpsite as she needed to collect recyclables to support a group of children.
Deo adds Fiji still has a lot to achieve as a society if some of our vulnerable communities are going through such appalling and unacceptable situations to earn a living for their loved ones.
The Director of Waste Recyclers Fiji says they also have members of the LGBTQI+ community engaged in informal waste picking in Fiji who are often stigmatised and discriminated against.
He also highlighted that we need to look at creating a safe and conducive space as well as build confidence to ensure that those reporting crimes will be treated with empathy and their allegations will be taken seriously, particularly, where vulnerable communities are concerned as they should not go through further stigmatisation when they turn up to report incidents.
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