Rani Ravudi

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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] I'm finding it very [00:00:11] interesting and fruitful, I'm learning a lot, a lot of new things. and meeting new people are coming to this conference. I've met some people I've met before. But then I've met some new people. It's always nice to meet new people, because I get to learn new things and exchange ideas on how things are done. [00:00:36] features. It's a difficult place politically to live. And it has been for a long while. [00:00:41] Oh, yeah. You could say that, again, it's very difficult. But then, with our current government, there's some done some quite some good things, which I liked, I think, which I think is good. Like, for instance, at one stage, they removed the right to sexual orientation from our Constitution. And about a year or a year and half ago, they had the new Fiji crime decree. And it's mentioned that everyone has the right to sexual orientation. So I that's with that I, I fully support the Fiji government. And I'm so happy that they recognize that but the thing is that people need to understand what sexual orientation is the general public, because with the issues faced by LGBT people, I think people need to be aware of the law itself, or the the authorities themselves, because most of the time, we are the ones inflicting the violence and violating the human rights of the citizens of Fiji. With with me, I'm well equipped with my human rights as well. So when the police pick me up, or they take me, so I give them, I tell them what I know. So that kind of makes them step back to and violate my human rights. But unfortunately, most of the trans people in my country, [00:02:24] illiterate. [00:02:26] This is due to rejection from home at an early age. So they tend to drop out of school run away, they don't finish school at all. And when they get picked up by the police, they just they just let the police violate the human rights and abuse them. [00:02:45] I'm dance got suggest a couple things, right. These are [00:02:51] a lot of trans people know very early on. [00:02:55] And I try and be trans, early on. And that's the point of it rejection from [00:03:00] from the family, family, community. [00:03:03] And family and community is important normally anyway, but I guess in a country like Fiji or Pacific culture, there is what makes you an outsider, an outcast. [00:03:17] Yes. So that's why I went for Take me for instance, like I grew up in an urban setting, with a religious with a strong religious background. And when I was growing up, I was being feminine. people tried to mold me into something I'm not. They tried to mold me, but they don't know who I am. I know who I am inside. They beat me up. They do all sorts of things to me. But that never changed me. And then one day I just was, and I've got six hours get sick of it. But then I just couldn't take it anymore that I decided to run away to the city and [00:03:59] with my life is a new [00:04:01] message to trans people. And [00:04:03] well, they went out right away to the city, I met other trans people who were involved in the sex industry. But since I was dropping out of school, no qualification, no job. So I tend to they took me under their wings and look after me for a while. And [00:04:21] that stop you from starving? [00:04:24] Yep, it put a roof over my head food on my table and [00:04:30] helped with my other needs and months to fail. [00:04:35] We've had a proper choice in your occupation. It's not that that sex work is wrong. But yet would you have liked [00:04:42] better choice? Well, I've always dreamt to be a lawyer. I've always wanted to be a lawyer. I've always wanted to be a lawyer. But then, when I dropped out of school, I had no other choice, but that I just expert. And I've been doing it for a while. I've kind of, I've kind of adapted to it. And then I've kind of liked it. And then drink human rights activism. Like I'm always fighting for transgenders and sex workers. I've kind of I've kind of liked it. But if I if I was given the chance to go back and study, I would [00:05:24] restore a chance of what do you think? [00:05:28] Well, financially, I don't think so. But if I if I if I was given the chance, because I'm coming from Fiji, we, we it's the cost of living is very high. And to go into law school would be for me, especially I would have to go back into my foundation studies. Because that's where I left it. Because that's where I dropped out. To go back into my financial studies. Well, it's a challenge for me. Yes. If I, I feel like if I stopped doing it now. [00:06:07] Who would? Who would fight for the rights of my other sisters? [00:06:11] That's a big thing with you. Yes. And so coming to this conference is being part of that. Yeah. [00:06:19] And like for for differences, like the trans man. You know, I've always heard of trans men. But coming to this conference. On the first day, we had the, the trans Hawaii. I don't know, I had mixed feelings, because I met all these trans men. And I think they were they were they look so good. And it was the first chance for me was this time for me to get the chance to meet them. Because at back home, we have, we don't really have trans man, we have women who they sort of have to em trends. They don't identify themselves as strong man. Because they just identify themselves as Bush, Bush lesbians. Maybe it's maybe it's because if they had to the hormone, we had we had a specialist that specialized in the transition, for example, hormonal II take, they would be happy to take it. I'm sure to show you that. They would be happy to take it and maybe they would identify themselves as trans men. And the same goes for us to like for, for us trans women, which is going by the the tablets of the cards, we don't it's not monitored. There's no specialist monitoring it or anything. [00:07:47] undefined. [00:07:51] A lack of medical care for you. Yeah, [00:07:55] definitely. There's, there's no, there's no special [00:08:01] like I said, there's no specialist for [00:08:02] trance healthcare, with the medical profession try and change you. [00:08:09] They will try, but it's never gonna happen. Never. I'm happy with who I am. I'm comfortable. My family has come to accept me for. For me being myself, they finally come to a separate for the last [00:08:25] seven years, seven years. So that makes a big difference. [00:08:29] Yes, that that link up to finally a suffering. I can go to my village dressed as who [00:08:36] you are. Yes. And nobody will say, well, but then we have we have had [00:08:44] quarrels and arguments with some people in the village. And I tell them, I don't give a damn, I don't give a rat's ass what you say. Because as long as my father and my mother, they understand me for who I am. That's all that matters. Who the hell are you? Because when I was in college, one day went up into the village like my auntie, because like I said, I come from a very religious background. And he came up to me and said, you know, you will bottom and he showed me a man, blah, blah, blah. Look at your brothers and your sisters in your cousins. They all have kids. Who are you? You don't tell me what to do. And I slammed the door face. And then she went and told my father that I was being rude. Had my my dentist back and told her this leave her alone. [00:09:33] She's happy with what she's that's all that matters. So you [00:09:37] do now have a home Don't do properly. [00:09:41] Well, I don't really leave with my my family, and David Silva. And if you don't have a house in my house, it's always like a safe haven for trans trans women, trans women and sex workers. Like I have a two bedroom house and sometimes I I have 10 transgenders in my two bedroom house. But I've had such lovely neighbors and they all complain at all. [00:10:10] So you more you are and your work in human rights are very close together all day. Yes, very tightly. part of your life. [00:10:21] Yes. Currently, I am. I'm currently also the reigning Queen for the National Treasure actually Fiji. So yeah. So I'm doing both kind of advocating for trans transgenders, etc. [00:10:39] as well. The competition's seem to mean something very different for you, and all the trans people or five of you know, [00:10:52] it's [00:10:55] not beauty, the not beauty contests in the same way that liked in America. The more expression of political statement possibly. [00:11:05] Yes, I think it was a way of for our community, to create awareness to the people that we exist. People might come in to watch the show to laugh, have a laugh and go back home. But then when they I think when they go there, they they get a clear message that we are here we exist. And sometimes in this competitions, our issues are addressed as well. [00:11:34] Yeah. You do you feel better valued as a person as a result of the competitions and Oh, yeah. Performance part of it. [00:11:44] Yes, definitely. [00:11:46] Definitely. matter of pride and yes. [00:11:51] Yes, I can understand that. [00:11:54] When do you leave, [00:11:56] leaving on Sunday morning. [00:12:00] Looking forward to leaving no. [00:12:03] I think I'm falling in love Wellington. So it's windy. [00:12:09] I think it's falling in love with it. And I look forward to coming back. And I look forward to attending more meetings like this with trans people especially like my friends, brothers and sisters.

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.