New report : 'Secret Lives, Other Voices – Community Based Study Exploring Male to Male Sex, Gender Identity and HIV Transmission Risk in Fiji'

Published: August 8, 2011

SECRET LIVES, OTHER VOICES…Executive Summary | 2

The respondents
The sample consisted of a diverse group of 212 MSM and TG. Respondents ranged in age from 18 to 51 years and the median age was 25.5. Approximately half lived in the Greater Suva Area and the other half in the western locations of Lautoka and Nadi. Fijians made up 38.6% of the sample, Indo?Fijians made up 50.0%, and people of “other” ethnicities made up the remainder. One?third of the respondents had completed high school, and over half (56.0%) went on to some form of further study. 8.1% of the respondents reported having had no formal education at all. Over half of the respondents were Christian, nearly one third was Hindu, and 13.2% were Muslim. The majority of the respondents were working (70.5%) and nearly one in five were studying. Just fewer than 10% were not working or
studying. The majority of respondents had never been married (79.1%), while 16.5% had ever been
married to a woman.

Sexual and gender identity and gender expression
Gender and sexual identity terms are used in complex and inconsistent ways by MSM and TG in Fiji.
Although the terms used are often the same as in other countries, the meanings can be quite different. The respondents were asked to self?identify their sexuality and gender. These were put together to create four categories:
Respondents expressed their masculinity and femininity to varying degrees. In terms of dress and
gender expression, straight men were exclusively masculine, bisexuals were more masculine than
feminine, gays were both masculine and feminine, and TGs were more feminine than masculine. The
majority of TGs dressed with a mixture of how men and women usually dress. A significant finding was that “globalised” and “local” sexual/gender identities exist in Fiji simultaneously. Some MSM and TG identify with more international understandings of terms like “gay”, while others have more “local”
understandings that are in line with traditional ways of understanding sexuality and gender.

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