Following the repeal of Fiji’s Penal Code early in 2010, homosexuality has been decriminalised there since February 1.
Seven months later, on September 27, Fiji’s largest university formed a support group for GLBT students. “Drodrolagi” means ‘rainbow’ in the Fijian language and the DrodrolagiMovement (droMo) established at the University of the South Pacific’s Suva campus aims to provide a safe environment while raising awareness of LGBT issues in the wider student population.
In 2013,a new constitution came into effect in Fiji that includes protection from discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. However same-sex marriages and civil unions are not recognised so those intending to holiday in Fiji for romantic reasons should be aware as nuptials there won’t be legal binding.
As well as droMo, the strong LGBT movement in the country includes Haus of Khameleon (www.hausofkhameleon.org), a social justice organisation supporting transgender equality in Fiji and the Pacific, and DIVA for Equality (www.divafiji.com) also known as Diverse Voices and Actions,a growing collective and peer support group of lesbians, bisexual women, trans masculine people and other marginalised women.
Though many who are openly gay are happily employed in hospitality, Fijian society is fairlyconservative so it’s preferable to avoid public displays of affection.
There are a number of accommodations that are gay-friendly and/or gay/bisexual owned. These include a number on Taveuni Island such as Coconut Grove Beachfront Cottages – a small intimate resort on a private white sand beach, the Maravu Plantation Resort which offers a tropical setting with well-appointed cottages and easy access to jungle and waterfall hikes, Taveuni Palms’ all-inclusive private villas, and Qamea Resort & Spa’s 17 luxuriously appointed bures. There’s also the secluded Royal Davui Resort at Beqa Lagoon which offers a year-round rate including all meals, Tiliva Resort, an upmarket diving resort on Kadavu Island, and Navutu Stars Resort which comprises 10 beachfront bungalows along three bays on the Yasawas’ Yaqueta Island.
There are some nightclubs in Lautoka, Nadi and Suva which are gay-tolerant with Suva’s interestingly-themed Purple Haze, decorated with neon planets and inflatable aliens, known as being very gay-friendly.
It may be worth being familiar withthe term ‘Vakasalewalewa’ which,in Fijian culture, refers to men who may present themselves, or live their lives as, women and can include transgender women (female-to-male).