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OutTakes defends offer of Fiji prize

Mon 29 May 2006 In: New Zealand Daily News

9.30AM: The organisers of the OutTakes national gay film festival are defending their controversial membership incentive prize of five days for two adults at a Fiji resort, saying a boycott of Fiji by NZ gays and lesbians will not advance the cause of equality and freedom there. Reel Queer, the group behind Out Takes festival, has referred to their preliminary statement after controversy erupted over their offer of a prize which can only be redeemed by going to a country which still jails people for same-sex intimacy and refuses to admit HIV positive people. In recent times Fiji has jailed tourists and locals for for having same-sex sex in private, and the horrific slasher murders of the head of the Fiji Red Cross head John Scott and his NZ partner Greg Scrivener met with a campaign of homophobic innuendo from the Fijian police. Body Positive Auckland has sternly reprimanded OutTakes for offering the prize when Fiji will not admit HIV positive people. "While we recognise that there is a high incidence of homophobia and related persecution in Fiji... we also recognise that it is incumbent on the queer community to stand up and be present in the face of unjustified persecution," says Reel Queer in its statement. "In our view boycotting Fiji does not serve to advance the very important cause of equality and freedom from persecution based on any point of difference - be it sexuality, religion or political beliefs." The statement also notes that the resort "does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, or any other basis in the treatment of resort guests or the staff." Reel Queer says it "applauds" the resort's work "towards contributing to a Fiji where Queer is normal," and a spokesperson says the organisation is itself working on a more considered response to the issue.    

Credit: News Staff

First published: Monday, 29th May 2006 - 12:00pm

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