20 May 2014

Anti-gay preachers increasingly target Pacific

2:19 pm on 20 May 2014

A human rights activist and lawyer says the Pacific is becoming a target for missionaries preaching against homosexuality.

Dr Paula Gerber of the Kaleidoscope Human Rights Foundation says the region has a mixed record on tolerance of homosexual and transgender people with homosexuality still a crime in nine Pacific countries.

She says many of the churches that have been in the region a long time are quite tolerant but there is a worrying trend taking place.

"There's signs that outside churches are starting to focus on the Pacific and to send missionaries or preachers there who are intolerant of homosexuality and are indicating to families that if they've got a transgender child or a homosexual son or daughter that they should reject them."

Dr Gerber says homosexuality must be decriminalised in more countries in the region in order to combat increasing rates of HIV infection.