15 May 2015

Conference head says more acceptance of LGTB in Pacific

4:25 pm on 15 May 2015

The organiser of an historic conference on Sexual Diversity and Orientation in the Pacific says the region is becoming more open to the subject matter.

The Pacific Sexual Diversity Network's Isikeli Vulavou says a conference in Tonga has brought together 70 regional representatives from the Lesbian-Gay-Transgender-Bisexual community for the first time.

Mr Vulavou says the conference was aimed at discussing issues and human rights legislation.

The Pacific Sexual Diversity Network's Isikeli Vulavou

The Pacific Sexual Diversity Network's Isikeli Vulavou Photo: Pacific Sexual Diversity Network

Despite a small group of protesters outside the venue each day claiming the conference was offensive , Mr Vulavou says people are becoming more accepting.

"In Polynesia, they have been accepting of transgender like the fa'afafine, akava'ine and the Tongan leitis for years and for like other regions like Meleanesia there is change that is observed where we are seeing increased community acceptance to persons of diverse sexual orientation and gender identity."

Mr Vulavou says the opening of the conference by the Deputy Prime Minister of Tonga and the attendance of a member of the royal family shows the postive reception the group recieved from the local authorities.