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Apology for fa'afafine performer

Thu 15 Dec 2005 In: New Zealand Daily News

Fa'afafine performer Lindah LePou has received a formal apology from the man who removed her at the last minute from a scheduled appearance at Auckland's Pasifika Festival earlier this year. The Auckland City Council had already offered an apology for the incident in April, and the man responsible for Le Pou's removal – entertainment director Thelo Meleisea – resigned from his position. Le Pou had been scheduled to present a music award but was bustled away literally at the last minute while she was waiting in the wings and holding the award she had been asked to present. She said she was told that Christians in the audience would be offended by her presence. Unsatsified with the outcome, Le Pou took a complaint to the Human Rights Commission who mediated a resolution. The terms are confidential, but the NZ Herald has reported that neither the Council nor Meleisea conceded legal liability. He did, however, apologise: "I accept that my actions were extremely inconsiderate, hurtful and deeply insensitive," he said in a statement. Le Pou, who is scheduled to appear as a headline act at the opening night of next year's Pasifika Festival, said she was happy with the outcome. "It is important for fa'afafine and transgender people to realise that, if they are discriminated against, they can complain to the Human Rights Commission," she said in a statement. "It's also important for those who might be tempted to discriminate to know that we won't accept it."    

Credit: News Staff

First published: Thursday, 15th December 2005 - 12:00pm

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