restricted access Contending Masculinities and the Limits of Tolerance: Sexual Minorities in Fiji
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 flourished in the public domain. The focus on male homosexuality has been predominant in this debate, with many influential political actors framing discourses of masculinity in ways that affirm 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 configured 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.


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