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OutTakes now concerned about Fiji prize

Wed 31 May 2006 In: New Zealand Daily News

The OutTakes gay film festival says when it decided to make its now controversial prize offer of a trip to Fiji it did so on the understanding that the Fiji High Court had removed legal impediments to homosexual sex between consenting adults. OutTakes has come under heavy fire in recent days for offering a prize of a holiday for two adults in a country where tourists and locals have been imprisoned for consensual gay sex. In an earlier statement on the issue OutTakes organisers acknowledged community concern but stated that the winner could choose whether or not to go. Now OutTakes says it shares concerns about the appropriateness of the prize. Responding to the anti-gay sex law issue, OutTakes spokesperson Simon Fulton says the organisers initially took legal advice "and formed the understanding that the ruling of Fiji's High Court against the anti-gay sex law made that law invalid and unenforceable." In that ruling the High Court overturned the conviction and imprisonment of a gay Australian tourist and a local man for having sex. However, a recently revealed letter from the Fiji High Commission suggesting that the anti-gay sex law is still enforceable has thrown the safety of gay people travelling to Fiji into doubt, and Fulton says OutTakes is seeking urgent clarification of the matter from the High Commission. He says it is "unfortunate" that the conflicting information surfaced after OutTakes decided to offer the prize, "because it had appeared that Fiji had overcome its problems in the treatment of gay people." Acknowledging gay community concern over the prize offer, Fulton says OutTakes is now "also very concerned that things seem to have changed." Concurrently, OutTakes has also been chastised over the Fiji holiday prize offer because Fiji refuses to admit HIV positive people, meaning HIV positive gay men could not use the prize. OutTakes has not withdrawn the prize or offered an alternative, instead it says it will ensure the prize winners "are fully aware of the risks if they choose to take the prize themselves."    

Credit: News Staff

First published: Wednesday, 31st May 2006 - 12:00pm

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