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Anger at Samoan reporting of death, front page pic

Sun 19 Jun 2016 In: International News View at Wayback

Anger is building amongst the Samoan transgender and fa'afafine communities over media reporting of the death of a young  transgender woman who was found in a Catholic church hall a few blocks inland from the main commercial area of downtown Apia. Today's Sunday Samoa front page story. GayNZ.com Has cropped the bulk of the photo off the bottom of this image. The body of Jeanine Tuivaiki, 20, was discovered in the early hours of Friday morning. A woman who describes herself as a close friend says Tuivaiki was "very committed to our church and especially our youth. In talking with a Samoa Observer reporter the friend appears to repeatedly have used the pronoun "he." The friend says Tuivaiki was especially talented at decorating the church and studied at computer school, never missing a class as she wanted to build a good future for herself. She apparently was in a relationship with a man but no further details are currently available. No details have yet become available from the Samoan Police. Tuivaiki on Friday morning. Tuivaiki was found hanging from the rafters of an open-air Catholic church hall in central Apia. In reporting the death this morning's Sunday Samoa edition of the Samoa Observer newspaper has, under the headline "Suicide in church hall" prominently featured a graphic full-length picture of Tuivaiki's body on the front page of its print edition and in its news story repeatedly refers to her as "a man," "he" and "him." The Samoa Fa'afafine Association has angrily denounced the newspaper, which has the largest circulation print media in the country, saying it has "ripped any remnants of humanity" from her by the nature of its coverage. "Jeanine deserved better than the violence perpetrated against her at her most weakest moments as a human being," says Tuisina Ymania Brown-Gabriel of the SFA. She describes the reporting and photo as "violence against her and her most basic of human rights... Violence using words... Violence using her image at death... they dehumanised her." Brown-Gabriel is accusing the newspaper of "wanting to portray Jeanine in the light of a liar and a deceiver. Her attire was female. Her appearance was female. So they decided to show her for who they believed her to be who they think she really was. That was their violent attack on her." She accuses the Samoa Observer of transphobia and homophobia, saying "I am one of the many Jeanines that at our weakest and lowest, have battled with suicide because of this homophobia." If this story raises issues and you need to talk, there is ALWAYS help out there. Please call OUTLine on 0800 OUTLINE, or Rainbow Youth on (09) 376 4155. After hours you can call Lifeline's 24-hr Suicide Crisis Helpline - 0508 TAUTOKO (82 88 65).     

Credit: gayNZ.com Daily News staff

First published: Sunday, 19th June 2016 - 12:16pm

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