Great starting this conversation

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Dear Editor

Re: Fa’afatama gathering first of its kind in Samoa

 

Talofa lava,

This is definitely a wonderful start of a critical conversation that needs to happen to bring visibility to the fa’afatama/fa’atama/fa’atamaloa/fa’atane community in Samoa. And as such, I think the article would have more impact by interviewing Ice Heather and have a photo of the first group meeting with fa’afatama.

It is good to have allies and advocates, but nothing compares to having the nuances and narratives directly from actual members from that particular segment and demographic of a community. That is how you demonstrate support for visibility not more erasure.

Also, there are some blanket statements being made about fa’afatama being antisocial among ourselves, avoiding interaction with one another and are in cliques, and unemployable and beholden to family for financial support.

It is very dangerous and damning to read that, especially if you are a young person thinking that will be your fate in life if you are this way and choose to love in your truth. I would like to encourage delving deeper on finding more fa’afatama who are self-sufficient and are quite comfortable in their own skin and in engaging with other fa’afatama and are active in the LBTQ2SPIA+ community and at-large society.

Gender pronouns are important gender identity indicators for those who were assigned a particular gender at birth. Sexual orientation is not always set based on these gender identities.

They are very separate and distinct pathways.

Sometimes, gender and sexuality are fluid and not binary. For instance, although I am a fa’atane because I am masculine of center presenting and navigate through the world in my truth as such, I am also a lesbian, a butch lesbian, not necessarily embarking on transitioning nor consider myself straight.

I use all pronouns because I embrace all that I am (both female and male energies) and am in a relationship with my partner who identifies as a femme lesbian and she does not identify as straight.

All this to say, if you’re going to feature an article about a segment of society, go directly to that population and hear straight from them and not through third party sources.

Do more investigation if their life experience is truly as described by statements made. If I had read this article and was a teenager, I would think that there was no valuable option for me to want more in life because I didn’t have other examples of “success” suggesting otherwise.

Malo le soifua.

 

Manumalo S. Ala’ilima

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