Phylesha Brown-Acton

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[00:00:00] This recording was made up a second, the Asia Pacific Outgames human rights conference, held in Wellington, New Zealand in March 2011. [00:00:08] My name is Felicia brown actin. [00:00:11] I [00:00:12] am the program coordinator for International Development at the New Zealand AIDS Foundation. But I'm not here in the capacity of New Zealand AIDS Foundation. Here's the delegate. key points that I touched on this morning during my planetary keynote session was one about the inclusion of culturally appropriate identity terms that refer to us and the Pacific. Secondly, was around proper Pacific representation on Asia Pacific and global forums. And thirdly, was just more such talk about the future and we were at and why we think it is something very important in terms of having a voice from Suffolk [00:00:48] Would you mind just going through those three points and just expanding on them? [00:00:52] Sure. Well, the first point, kind of, because I think there's been a lot of emphasis on what I said was MVP fair, which is, my hope is La la la palapa. fast enough of a new facility and for the female, those traditional terms to us in the Pacific [00:01:12] actually have [00:01:14] a place within the home within society, these terms that we identify, and they're actually within our language prior to colonization. So they have a lot more I would say, the feeling and the spirit behind it actually has a lot more meaning to it to us as to whether we come from the Pacific. Now, the algae BCI term doesn't actually relate to us in the Pacific. One, the word lithium was obviously created because of the sexual act between two women, gay, not even referring to what a gay man is, or it states in the dictionary that it's something to refer to, as quite, you know, friendly, or fruitful as you do. And with transgendered, it's a mythical stunning periods of middle for to explain four sixes. So I don't see the relevance and identifying terms that really are not within the language, not within the spirit, and it doesn't capture the very essence of them. So that was kind of the main focus behind it. Now, in order for us to actually achieve things like signing joint statements, we need to have the cultural reference and relevance included, and the LGBT I umbrella or alongside it, so that when we put pressure on our governments back in the Pacific, [00:02:38] that they are actually, [00:02:41] they see the need for, it's almost like a father thing that has child or her childhood, or has, you know, her child actually needs support, in some sense. Now, I'm not saying that that's going to break barriers and pull, pull down barriers and break boundaries. But if there's a cultural reference to us, then of course, it's important within our country, and it's important for us to take responsibility and voice their 12 governments so that they can see the need and the Justice than that. So they've kind of really was the focus around that part. The other part is around the representation. Now in terms of representation in Asia, and Asia Pacific and the Global Forum. There is very little, the spirit plantation, but I made a key points around the 22, Pacific Island countries and territories. And that when coming to factor things like joint statement says f1, the vote does count and the importance behind the votes and their voice, but also that the representation needs to be there. Now, if you're voting on Asia Pacific things, and if there is votes from certain Asian countries or other countries, and there is no vote Pacific people, how can we call it Pacific Asia Pacific when there was no inclusion and that doesn't really touch too much on it. But that's kind of the the other way around it but also the fact that the name Pacific, Pacific Rim, Pacific people's, the South Pacific, there is a lot that defines the Pacific. Now, if it's not Pacific in relation to Pacific peoples, then be specific about what part of the Pacific you're representing. And we're really thankful to the Kingdom of the Netherlands also, because they've given us this [00:04:29] opportunity to, to be a part. And I think it's probably [00:04:33] for me, in the last five years of working in this is the first time I've actually seen really good representation, the inclusion of the American Samoan [00:04:46] Association, Sofia is [00:04:49] that is a voice that we have never ever heard before. [00:04:51] But because of the funding system through the Kingdom of the Netherlands, they've allowed for that opportunity to happen. Now they should be representation of 20 Pacific Island countries and territories here. And that goes to say that in terms of the inclusiveness of Asia Pacific, everybody needs to be involved from no matter where they come from within that region. And it's a responsibility, that of those that are making the decisions to make sure that these people are involved from its conceptual stages, right to the very end and inclusive also in the decision making. And that's my points around the, the, the proper representation, specifically with a specific peoples on these levels. [00:05:39] And there was a third point. [00:05:40] And the third point also captures was capturing the whole first point. And the second point that making a bold statement, and also touching on what Maryland wearing said in her keynote earlier this week. And that was around, don't be afraid, use what you have to use. And for us, we want people to use our terminology which we identify to, we want people to make sure we are represented. But also the fact that she stated that the LGBT movement could also jeopardize others movements. And it could affect our movement in general within the Pacific. And then also making the bold statements around representation. So that kind of third point was around more. So the conclusion and the conclusion in itself. I mean, my presentation had nothing to do what I spoke about today, coming here, but because of the keynote from cow for minor capitals, and vital sort of toy Look there. And cause of all the discussions here amongst all the Pacific people, it actually created some kind of a movement. And obviously, if it was movement building for change, the movement happened here for us in the Pacific. And that's what we wanted to voice across. And that's kind of like where my direction came from. Being the last keynote speaker, unfortunately, I had to conclude. And it wasn't, I wasn't here today to talk to make people laugh. I wasn't here today to talk to make people cry, or disrespect anyone or any group because we know we're a part of the rainbow family. But again, straight community, they don't get LGBT back in the Pacific, what they get as our cultural references to us or turn. So yeah, that's kind of where the ending sort of went forward on. [00:07:27] And how was that plenary received? [00:07:29] And actually, I think I did quite well, because I got quite a lot of closes right turn. I don't know whether you measure it upon applause. But you know, amongst the LGBT community, the fabulosity is what rain superior. So I think we from the Pacific actually came forward with some very strong statements. And I love the fact that Marion streets, the who chaired the plenary session, actually stated straight after I speak, that she doesn't think they will, after this conference that they will be another conference if are the same. I think that's what she said it was too emotional. But the strong statement around from what she said actually captures she's actually right, it needed to be heard it needed to be said, and this is what everybody's saying, I still see a few people noses up in the air. But you know, that could just be me taking it wrong. But also, I think it was well received. And I hope it does get heard. And I hope it does make change in terms of the way people perceive us and see us because we want to be as much involved in the process as everybody else's. [00:08:39] You've just come out of the Pacific caucus, what were the recommendations from there, the recommendations were [00:08:46] one balance of issues, whether they be [00:08:49] fixed work, lesbian or train, they felt that some those issues were kind of not so meaning. So they would like to see a balance of issues that future at games conferences or human rights conferences. The other one was funding and the need for funding in order for Pacific community at Pacific Time community groups or peoples to actually attend in the future because it is a downfall for us. The other one was for the Pacific forums for us to continue community communicating amongst one another and forums to discuss human rights relevant to us in the Pacific so that we can ally it align them to international human rights, and all sorts of future health gains human rights conferences. So that was another one. They also was the recommendation around the culture appropriate references or terms in VP path. And out of this caucus with managed to note key people's as representatives for those countries. So we have seemed to to a representative from Fiji, American Sam was somewhat tongue Vanuatu in the Cook Islands. And this is to continue for the dialogue, and to discuss it another level about how we can start to implement these recommendations and make sure that they continued on and not sort of just live here in Wellington. [00:10:20] For you personally, have there been any surprises or challenges from this conference? [00:10:26] No, actually, if I was to say that it was absolutely wonderful, and the experience was amazing. And everything ran smoothly. I'm sure everything behind the scenes didn't go so wonderfully. My only, my only view would be that there would be more contingency plans, especially with some of the sessions or workshops that didn't go forth. And because of I don't remember there was communication with people key people that were meant to be here presenting. So I see that it should be instead of canceling these people shot, something I should be put in place. But besides that, I think it's some for us. The main thing is that we had representation here and had a voice. So I can't moan about anything else. Maybe probably that more food because we obviously the garland doesn't love to eat, and maybe some ways to sit when you eat because then they are Pacific and, and our culture, it's rude to stand and eat. We like to sit and eat and communicate and [00:11:28] around food because it's the very [00:11:29] I mean, we're Polynesian, the melon Asians that obviously Micronesians a lot smaller, but [00:11:35] we're big people and big eaters. [00:11:38] What about in terms of differing views, or speakers, I mean, if there been any ideas that have challenged your way of thinking, [00:11:48] they wouldn't voice that publicly. I can say that. And I and I honestly say that there was a couple of people that actually came up to try and challenge what he stated today. What it comes back down to it, [00:11:59] our names existed prior [00:12:01] to colonization, we have that right, we must stick to that rights and the identity. And we are not going to allow anyone to tell us otherwise. Because that will be going against the very fabrication of who we are as Pacific Island people. And I guess that's because it's a [00:12:19] ignorant perception of who we [00:12:21] are in the Pacific and that they do have their own agendas. And obviously, the relationships between certain Asian countries and Pacific countries is not right. But unfortunately, a lot of that does come down to the purse strings and who is competing for funds of whatever they may be. And I understand that and I see that. But in the same sense, the separate people being lifted out because other people are taking on taking money on their behalf, but not including them. And I've sort of that's my overview in terms of the the conversation, I've had one on one. But in general, I think everyone has received what has been said is [00:13:09] a right for us to actually voice that concern. [00:13:11] But whatever anyone else's political agenda is, if it's not going to benefit the collective, the Pacific is not interested. [00:13:21] So just so I clarify, so was the challenge that I can call the LGBT? i? Because I can. [00:13:29] The extra challenge was why should we include MVP faith? Are you telling the United Nations to list every single cultural identity or term when they address the LGBT I collective? I see, why can't they that's what they paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to do. Why abbreviate us under an umbrella term, because they don't have enough time to mention or come up with. I'm not saying things to be creative. But if it does, doesn't have any cultural reference, this is exactly what I will continue to voice, then it has no relevance to us. And that's the underlying factor to why we voice to what we voiced. And don't continue to put us in labels and fit us within labels. Because eventually what happens, people get left out. [00:14:21] If somebody was hearing this tape in 50 years time, or when they do, what would you say to that person, [00:14:28] I would like to hope that that [00:14:32] their approach within whatever they work [00:14:35] as simple as possible. Don't let [00:14:40] whatever direct to [00:14:43] be dictated to you because of funds. [00:14:47] Because the measure is not fat [00:14:49] enough, because the measure is not of interest. Because the measure does not fit the interests of your group. If you haven't genuine interest of the human rights, for whatever community, you work, the main factor is that the community is what what matters the most. And for me, I think that should be what drives your passion. That is what drives you to get out of bed every day to do the good work that you do. And to be honest about it because you're not only answerable to [00:15:25] your CEO or people above you. [00:15:28] You're not only answerable to a reporter I'm being accountable and transparent. You're accountable to your very own people and the community that you serve. And without them [00:15:38] there would be none of these positions ever created.

This page features computer generated text of the source audio - it is not a transcript. The Artificial Intelligence Text is provided to help users when searching for keywords or phrases. The text has not been manually checked for accuracy against the original audio and will contain many errors.