Rainbow is an umbrella term that describes people who do not identify as heterosexual, or do not fit standard gender norms.
Pasifika families have long included mahu, vakasalewa, palopa, fa’afafine, akava’ine, fakaleiti (leiti), fakafifine. The terms MVPFAFF was coined by Phylesha Acton-Brown although it needs to acknowledged that these traditional terms do not encompass lesbian or bisexual women and should.
The Rainbow (LGBQTI+ and/or MVPFAFF) people are important and vital members of the Pasifika community and New Zealand society. As the Pasifika community evolves, so do the terms used to describe this population.
There is a high prevalence of suicide attempts in the rainbow community for Pasifika, and this population is at significantly higher risk of self-harm and suicide.
The high prevalence of suicide among LGBQTI+ is well established in many societies, including New Zealand. We need more information to address unique issues for rainbow Pasifika.
Loving differently can have harsh penalties in communities.
The high risk of suicide is linked closely to lack of acceptance, homophobia, transphobia, discrimination, shame, bullying, violence and rejection by others. The negative impacts on mental health caused by intolerance, lack of acceptance, rejection, aggression and negativity is well-documented.
Creating societies and communities that all people want to live in and supporting all people to feel worthy and wanted so that they choose life is fundamental to any meaningful suicide prevention.
Acceptance, compassion, healthy interconnectedness, respect, service, love and reciprocal relationships are Pasifika values that extend to all members of the community.
To create safe and accepting spaces and positive relationships with everyone we interact with regardless of gender, identity, gender norms or sexuality, can be an act of suicide prevention.
Le Va recognises that a healthy Pasifika community means healthy Pasifika people. Le Va aims to ignite, inform and equip Pasifika communities and create change to help all Pasifika people reach their full potential so that our families and communities can flourish and thrive in Aotearoa.
Below are professional help services for Pasifika specific LGBTQI+/MVPFAFF affirming groups.
Pacific Sexual Diversity Network (PSDN)
The Pacific region’s first lesbian, transgender and gay network.
Te Aito Rangatira
Te Aito Rangatira supports the Cook Islands LGBTQ+ community.
FAFSWAG is a brand that celebrates and documents emerging Queer Pacific Culture within New Zealand’s urban landscapes. Driven by community this is a creative platform for connectivity amongst our young gay Pacific people navigating their unique identities.
Confidential and self-affirming LBGQTI+ telephone support and face-to-face counselling.
Rainbow Youth (RY)
Supporting queer and gender diverse youth in Aotearoa.
New Zealand Aids Foundation (NZAF)
Providing support for people living with HIV.