4 Jul 2018

Commonwealth Pacific short story winner shines new light on LGBTQIA community

9:19 am on 4 July 2018

The Pacific regional winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize says she hopes to encourage acceptance and love for the transgender community.

Samoa human rights advocate and LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual) activist, Jenny Bennett-Tuioneota said her story, Matalasi, is about a young transgender man preparing to be married as a female bride.

She says her inspiration came from a dream.

"It's very clear in Matalasi that gender is very different from sex, and Matalasi is himself, has always felt like a boy even as a child. So it's not something that these people have chosen to do, that's what they are and I want to encourage acceptance and love for them, and so I wanted people to see transgender individuals in a new light."

Jenny Bennett-Tuioneota said she's glad her win will inform international audiences about how legal protections and tolerance of trangender communities is needed in the Pacific.