Pacific Human Rights Conference (PHRC); Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity: Nukualofa Tonga

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‘Go back to your country with your immorality, Tonga do not want you evil people’.

That was the banner message faced by attendees at the first ever Pacific Human Rights Conference on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (held on May 11-14 in Nukualofa, Kingdom of Tonga), thanks to church-based protesters who picketed the conference.

It was a challenge; we, the attendees, had gathered together to celebrate our skills and resilience and to strategise together to help develop a fairer, more accepting future for people of diverse gender and sexual identities in Pasifika countries. Having all faced stigma and discrimination in our daily lives we were not surprised to see the protest, but it was a disappointment—and a reminder of just how far we have to go before lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and intersex people (LGBTQI) are treated equally to non-LGBT people.

We had the Tongan Royal…

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