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Contending Masculinities and the Limits of Tolerance: Sexual Minorities in Fiji

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Title:Contending Masculinities and the Limits of Tolerance: Sexual Minorities in Fiji
Authors:George, Nicole
LC Subject Headings:Oceania -- Periodicals.
Date Issued:2008
Publisher:University of Hawai'i Press
Center for Pacific Islands Studies
Citation:George, N. 2008. Contending Masculinities and the Limits of Tolerance: Sexual Minorities in Fiji. Special issue, The Contemporary Pacific 20 (1): 163-89.
Abstract:Despite the fact that Fiji is one of only a handful of states to have given constitutional
recognition to the rights of sexual minorities in its most recent constitution
enacted in 1998, controversy over the issue of individual sexual orientation, and
powerful condemnation of those who choose to publicly demonstrate a homosexual
or transgender identity, has fl ourished in the public domain. The focus on
male homosexuality has been predominant in this debate, with many infl uential
political actors framing discourses of masculinity in ways that affi rm Christian
ideals of morality while also reinforcing the Christian Church’s normative political
authority. However, as this article demonstrates, public discourses of masculinity
have also been articulated in a highly selective manner. This becomes clear when
public debate that construes homosexuality in Fiji as a threat to the integrity of
the country’s key social institutions is contrasted with some church and political
leaders’ far more lenient responses to the forms of violent and lawless masculine
behavior that predominated during the 2000 coup. While these developments
have increased the political and social vulnerability of Fiji’s homosexuals, young
gay men have also employed strategies that contest mainstream discriminatory
attitudes. In this article, I describe how the terrain of sexual minority politics is
confi gured in ways that authorize certain varieties of masculine behavior and subordinate
others, and consider the strategies deployed by local gay males to contest
homophobic sentiments articulated in the public domain.
Appears in Collections: TCP [The Contemporary Pacific], 2008 - Volume 20, Number 1

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