Fiji recently became the very first country in the Pacific region to throw its own Pride parade. Activists in the area have sought, for years, to gain police permission to march freely.
Finally, legal go-ahead was granted. Fiji’s first Pride gathered a large turnout, and was called a “breakthrough” happening.
The event occurred on May 17, the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia.
According to Gay Star News, “Rainbow Pride Foundation 4 LGBTQ Rights and Equality in Fiji organized the history making event. It decided to hold the parade in Fiji’s second biggest city, Lautoka, after police denied multiple requests to hold it in the capital, Suva.”
Fiji is a nation-state of roughly 900,000 people in the south region of the Pacific Ocean. Homosexuality is currently legal under the constitution; the country became the second nation in the world to do so, after South Africa legalized it in 1994. But discrimination is still widespread within the larger island community.
Isikeli Vulavou is the executive director of the Rainbow Pride Foundation. Vulavou said that the sheer act of getting legal affirmation had been a major victory.
Law enforcement provided a 50-strong escort for the parade marchers. According to reports, public reception to the marchers was largely positive as well.