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Sat 22 Oct 2005 In: New Zealand Daily News

A three-day conference is being held in Auckland this weekend for Fa'afafine, preceding next week's international HIV/AIDS conference. It is the first ever meeting of the Pacific Island transgender community, and aims to build support in a society where they often face discrimination. Fashion designer and singer/songwriter Linda Lepou, a speaker at the conference, says that fa'afafine were an accepted part of pre-colonial Samoan society, and were only considered abnormal following western influences. Lepou says that workplace discrimination is a real problem for transgender people, which is why a conference to generate greater support is so important. Ms Lepou herself was stopped at the last minute from presenting an award at this year's Pacific Music Awards, when it was claimed that she might offend people. The larger international HIV/AIDS conference begins on Tuesday.    

Credit: News Staff

First published: Saturday, 22nd October 2005 - 12:00pm

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