Statement from Samoa Fa’afafine Association

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Talofa SFA Inc Supporters,

Today a crime of violence was committed against faafafines and faafatamas who identify as transgender living in Samoa.
One of our sisters and aiga, Jeanine, committed suicide.
And the Samoa Observer no only took a picture of her in her final moments suspended in the church hall and published it in the paper print, they wrote an article that misgendered Jeanine and ripped any remnants of humanity from her corpse.
Samoa Observer knew she was transgender, but they chose the path of violence and abuse under the guise of “reporting the truth, and facts”.
Jeanine deserved better than the violence perpetrated against her at her most weakest moments as a human being.
Violence against her and her most basic of human rights. That is what the Samoa Obeserver front page paper edition committed today.
Violence using words. Violence using her image at death.
And they did it without laying a finger through their malice masquerading as human interest and journalistic ethics.
Samoa Observer deconstructed her persona.
They dehumanised her.
Their real intention and the message they are sending is that they wanted to portray Jeanine in the light of a liar and a deceiver.
Her attire was female. Her appearance was female. So they decided to show her for who they believed her to be who they think she really was.
That was their violent attack on her corpse.
As she passed from this world, the last autonomy and right she had to present herself as her chosen gender, Samoa Observer ripped that from her.
Samoa Observer page 1 article and the words used, and the image of Jeanine is hurtful and as a trans woman from Samoa, I feel delegitimized, hurt, angry, and violated.
Samoa Observer wanted to show its readers that it know us not only better than we do, but knows the ‘real’ us.
If no-one ever told you, Samoa Observer management and publisher, Aunty Muliagatele Jean Ash Malifa, misgendering is violence. Misgendering perpetuates violence.
It is a deliberate act to cause harm, pain, and suffering. Intentionally misgendering someone is what people do when they cannot enact violence upon a person psychically.
Samoa Observer are no better than the homophobic and transphobic citizens who practice vile and hate towards an already marginalised sector of Samoan society.
I am one of the many Jeanines that at our weakest and lowest, have battled with suicide because of this hompphobia.
Rest in Love and Peace Jeanine. I and the Samoa Faafafine Association Incorporated recognise you. We see you for who you were. And we will not stop until this violence against all faafafine and faafatama has stopped.

‪#‎beautifuljeanine‬
‪#‎MyNameIsJeanine‬ ‪#‎IWillNotDieInVain‬

Tuisina Ymania Brown-Gabriel on behalf of the Samoa Faafafine Association.

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