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ADDED ON: 12/19/2020

Facing Intersecting Crises: LGBTIQ+ Resilience in Fiji

12/18/2020 | Open Global Rights

The climate justice conversation lacks sufficient representation and voices from marginalized groups, such as people living with disabilities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) people; and migrants and refugees. An intersectional approach to the impacts of environmental and climate crises is imperative to highlight how different marginalized groups define, relate, and respond to their realities. Underrepresentation and underreporting of those groups poses an issue for purposive, inclusive, and intersectional public policy. Hence, disaster preparedness and harm reduction, especially for marginalized communities, are fundamental areas which require investment. When climate change intersects with the experiences of LGBTIQ+ people, it is crucial that information and data gaps are addressed through careful analysis of how they are disproportionately affected. LGBTIQ+ people tend to be uninformed on important disaster management and respective adaptive measures in place due to their lack of involvement in these processes, which puts them at higher risk, making them more vulnerable. This lack of involvement, in turn, is a result of their exclusion on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity. Moreover, LGBTIQ+ people, particularly trans people and youth, also experience a great deal of displacement from their original families and households. Those experiencing homeslessness often find it difficult to gain access to shelters and welfare resources and tend to face difficulty and discrimination when trying to access emergency facilities during climate disasters. LGBTIQ+ people are often left out and behind when seeking access to information on climate events and safety and to disaster relief assistance from government services. The Pacific region continues to record increases in average temperatures, rising sea levels, and greater intensity of natural disasters. The Fijian LGBTIQ+ community has seen and experienced the repercussions of both societal exclusion and climate change, which have displaced and disrupted the lives of many. In Fiji, the Rainbow Pride Foundation (RPF) advocates for the rights of LGBTIQ+ people, ensuring they can live with dignity. RPF has hubs spread across various areas and islands in Fiji. These hubs represent LGBTIQ+ people of different identities and backgrounds, including people with disabilities, people of Indian and Indigenous descent, sex workers, and the elderly.

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