Media Release
Friday, 20 November 2020


On the occasion of the International Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) [20 November, 2020], the Oceania region of the International Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) calls on all Pacific Island States and Territories to further its commitments on the protection, fulfilment and promotion of Human Rights for every Pacific Transgender person and recognizing that transgender rights are human rights.

Daniele Paletta [ILGA World Communications Co-ordinator]: “In the past 12 months, 350 trans and gender-diverse people were killed globally. Those are just the cases that were reported. #TDoR is a painful moment: a time to mourn these deaths, and to honour the lives of whom we lost. Standing with our trans siblings, together. #TDoR2020.”

Kern Moala [ILGA Oceania Co-Chair (General)]: “Transgender people in the Pacific are victims of horrifying hate crimes and violence, including physical and sexual assaults and murder, which often go unreported and data on violence targeted at transgender people are not systematically produced and therefore it is impossible to estimate the actual number of cases. Throughout Oceania it is becoming more difficult to record true figures of those who have been murdered. This is not right! Are we memorialising empty coffins?”

Ratu Eroni Ledua Dina [ILGA Oceania Trans Subcommittee Chair]: “It is no secret that many transgender persons have lost their lives to hate crimes brought upon by a plethora of misunderstandings and lack of awareness. The premature mortality, unreported/unresolved deaths of transgender people should be every nations concern, especially nations as dispersed as our Oceania. We ask that reformative change starts in the most intimate spaces like the home. When we start injecting the positivity of inclusivity and the culture of acceptance that comes with understanding, this world would finally see the right side up.”

As a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as growing racism and police brutality, the lives of transgender people are at greater risk. COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting Transgender people worldwide, especially those most marginalised, such as Transgender people of colour, sex workers, the disabled, the young, and the poor.

Maria Nailevu [ILGA Oceania’s Women’s Committee]: “In Fiji, LBT women and gender non-conforming people have experienced mental and emotional abuse because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and/or sex characteristics. Most experience stress, depression, and suicidal ideation. The level of violence experienced by lesbians, bisexual women, transmasculine people, transmen and gender non-conforming people in Fiji and globally is endemic and epidemic. There is violence from immediate families and wider kinship networks from early childhood to adulthood, by family, by public and State institutions, and more. We at ILGA Oceania call on our Governments at its highest level to send a clear message that it does not tolerate nor condone intolerance, prejudice, discrimination and violence against LGBTQI people, especially on this special day of remembrance”.

The ILGA Oceania notes the efforts of various departments within Governments across the Pacific region and looks forward to working alongside them to better the response on Anti-Transgender crimes targeted at Transgender people in the Pacific. It is now time for all the Governments of the Pacific as duty bearers to act on the fundamental protection of Transgender People in our region. Although COVID-19 affects us all, social differences and inequalities towards key affected populations like transgender people are worsened by the pandemic, emphasising gaps in lack of legislation and systemic protection of and for transgender people. As transgender people of the Pacific, our quest and journey to Justice will nt be erased! We will re-group. We will organize. We will win. We’re more than enough. Let today, on the occasion of TDoR be a reminder of our on-going Trans Revolution. This day we honour the spirits of our ancestors, our fallen trans communities and those who fight day and night – holding the lines and defending our freedoms and rights. To them all we remember you. Every year, Transgender Day of Remembrance honours the memory of transgender people who have lost their lives through transphobic violence.

Ken Moala [ILGA Oceania Co-Chair (General)]. “We at ILGA Oceania would like to honour the memory of all Transgender Australians, New Zealanders and the Pacific Islanders, who have been murdered, died by suicide or from drug overdose, whether they be Sistergirls, Whakawahine, Leiti, Mahu, Akavaine or Vakasalewalewa we will honour them. There is the tradition of reading out their names, let us honour them as whatever observance or vigil event that you maybe be at, if we can’t be at these events we have will honour them in the quietness of spirit and heart and remember that their lives are not in vain.

As an Elder and Life Member or the Samoan Faafafine Association, I honour and pay respect to all my Faafafine children, sisters who have been murdered and died by suicide. May they rest in peace and love.

Transgender lives do matter!!!!”


Vanessa Lee-AhMat

+61 (0)4-17-973-001 [ILGA Oceania Co-Chair, Female]

Fia'ailetoa Ken Moala

+61 (0)4-51-112-293 [ILGA Oceania Co-Chair, General]