Author Topic: Fa'afafine: "Where is God?"  (Read 2031 times)

DS Star

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Fa'afafine: "Where is God?"
« on: October 03, 2012, 03:50:53 AM »
Fa'afafine - the 3rd Gender in Samao is widely accepted by their society and they can live their lives normally according to their ways. Unfortunately, from the churches' and their religions side i.e. Catholic and Protestants Christian, they are outcasts.



In one interview by "KBS World", a Korean TV station, one of them asked this question, if they are not accepted by God as proclaimed by the churches, then where is God?

http://news.naij.com/5386.html

DS Star

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Re: Fa'afafine: "Where is God?"
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2012, 11:54:40 AM »
Perhaps I need to give a clearer picture on this issue; in Samao or within the Asian and Pacific Islander communities, Fa'afine is not just another term for homosexuals or transgenders as what Western culture or other part of the world referred to. They are accepted as a third gender, thus, "They are men, but they are our sisters,"

"...Walking around Apia during the day and at night, it very quickly becomes apparent that the Fa'afafine are far from a darkly held secret. They are in positions of influence - school principals, bank managers, politically empowered - and on the streets you are sometimes greeted enthusiastically and, shall we say, with great drama by Fa'afafines...

They are known especially for the work they do for their family, particularly looking after households and their elderly parents.

I was cautioned often not to look for explanations or clarification about Fa'afafine through western eyes or words... A sexual relationship between a Fa'afafine and a man is not considered a homosexual one, but rather one between two genders...

Still, marriage between two Fa'afafines is not legal. Changing this may be a slowly gathering social movement. The acceptance goes only so far, it seems.
"
Written by Adrian Pratt in his blog http://kiwiscots.blogspot.com/2011/08/faafafines-third-gender.html

Despite socially accepted by their communities, Fa'afines are still being discriminate by the churches:

"The fa'afafine is a third gender and they need to convince the church to give them equal rights. They must do this because of the influences churches have on most decisions especially in the South Pacific." posted by jttogs in http://fafafini.blogspot.com/

And so unfortunately, under Samoan law, the Fa'afine also run the risk of being arrested as criminals for the following offences:

1. "physical contact of a sexual nature between males" under section 58D of the Crimes Ordinance 1962; and,

2. "a male person to have ‘on or about his person any article intended by him to represent that he is a female or in any other way is impersonating or representing himself to be a female " under section 58N of the Crimes Ordinance 1962.

Why the discrimination?

So, where is God


A video of Fa'afine on National Geographic channel:
Small | Large


www.youtube.com/watch?v=GV_g6X2PEvs Small | Large

buddhalovely

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Re: Fa'afafine: "Where is God?"
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2012, 11:52:26 PM »
One of the most astonishing and complicated aspects of Samoan culture is the story of the Fa'afafine. The Fa'afafine are accepted as a third gender in Samoa. "They are men, but they are our sisters," is how it was put to me.

For such a macho culture, the widespread acceptance and integration that these males/females enjoy is unusual.

"Fa'afafine are biological males who have a strong feminine gender orientation, which the Samoan parents recognize quite early in childhood, and then raise them as female children or rather 'third gender' children," is how Wikipedia puts it.

Walking around Apia during the day and at night, it very quickly becomes apparent that the Fa'afafine are far from a darkly held secret. They are in positions of influence - school principals, bank managers, politically empowered - and on the streets you are sometimes greeted enthusiastically and, shall we say, with great drama by Fa'afafines.

While as youngsters the Fa'afafine are subjected to ridicule, so is everyone else, I was told; it's part of the Samoan culture. When I asked if drunks in bars would pick on the Fa'afafine and beat them up, my friend said, "Oh no, you don't mess with them. They will hurt you badly."

Fa'afafine are biological males who have a strong feminine gender orientation - the name means "in the manner of woman." Parents will recognize this early, sometimes when the child is as young as six. They willl then raise them as female children or rather 'third gender' children. They are a gender category/identity altogether different from men and women, and are given distinct gender roles specific to them.

They are known especially for the work they do for their family, particularly looking after households and their elderly parents.

I was cautioned often not to look for explanations or clarification about Fa'afafine through western eyes or words. Fa'afafine have a varied sexual life, where they have sex with women, men and other Fa'afafines. A sexual relationship between a Fa'afafine and a man is not considered a homosexual one, but rather one between two genders.

Still, marriage between two Fa'afafines is not legal. Changing this may be a slowly gathering social movement. The acceptance goes only so far, it seems.

Tenzin K

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Re: Fa'afafine: "Where is God?"
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2012, 10:15:18 AM »
Fa'afafine are biological males who have a strong feminine gender orientation - the name means "in the manner of woman." Parents will recognize this early, sometimes when the child is as young as six. They willl then raise them as female children or rather 'third gender' children. They are a gender category/identity altogether different from men and women, and are given distinct gender roles specific to them.

Most migrant fa’afafine remain part of their Samoan families and communities in New Zealand. They also maintain networks with other fa’afafine and other transgender or queer communities. Fa’afafine have been regular participants in gay-pride festivals and parades. The biennial Love Life Fono (meeting), organised by the New Zealand AIDS Foundation since 2005, brings together leaders and members from the Pacific’s sexual-minority communities to discuss important issues.

They found a place for their existence and role to play for their commitment. Personally whatever name we place is just a label. What important is whether as a human being have we contribute in benefiting others? In whatever way we try to find place in the society is just to find place to stay comfortably then what is next if the community or society agree with you? Of course this is a basic need in order to move forward and very fortunate fa’afaine is recognized even though not widely within but at least within the area where can survive.

Gender does not dictate whether the wellbeing of a person. Since this third gender is recognized they should contribute more in spiritual practice to show that whatever gender you are you still can be a better person not just the gender differences.   

DSFriend

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Re: Fa'afafine: "Where is God?"
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2012, 06:32:13 PM »
It's beautiful how parents recognizing their child's behavior at a young age and willingly bring them up as a "third gender." How I wish every society has this practice in their culture.

Click the link below to take a read of some relevant statistics. The Christian scripture says "we are created in the image of God" and that God does not accept homosexual, then what does this imply?


http://www.pflagnyc.org/safeschools/statistics

Reliable estimates indicate that between 4 and 10% of the population is gay,...

Gay teens are 8.4 times more likely to report having attempted suicide and 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression compared with peers from families that reported no or low levels of family rejection....

sonamdhargey

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Re: Fa'afafine: "Where is God?"
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2012, 05:09:46 AM »
As long as people have a fixed and selfish view about What can be accepted and what cannot be accepted. How people want to generalised and rule over others in the name of GOD. IF GOD is all loving, GOD embraces all sentient beings no matter how they appear to be. These transgenders are born like that, they do not wish to be like that. They have to carry on with their life. Where is GOD to protect these beings from ridicule and outcasted by humankind.

bambi

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Re: Fa'afafine: "Where is God?"
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2012, 06:43:05 AM »
I totally agree with sonamdhargey. I am not trying to put any religion down. Since young I have been going to Sunday school and churches. Listening to preachings and teachings. Yet at the end of the day I ask myself some of these questions "why do God test us? Why is God unfair to many?" Shouldn't everyone be treated fairly? The 3rd gender are not the guilt ones. The karma of these people are so sad and instead of making it worse for the less fortunate we should understand and be kinder to them. Everyone should be treated the same with love and understanding.

rossoneri

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Re: Fa'afafine: "Where is God?"
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2012, 08:55:42 AM »
This is a sensitive issue and i am no expert in Christianity and other religions, however if we always heard this quotes or script in the Tv...God is almighty and God is the creator of humankind, God Love all of us. But how ironic is why do God create this so call other genders and be outcast by certain group of religious practitioners? I find only with this single point alone is enough for me to decide what religion i should be in.

Jessie Fong

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Re: Fa'afafine: "Where is God?"
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2012, 02:36:57 PM »
NO matter which gender you belong to, the choice of religion is yours and yours alone to make. 

We should not treat these 3rd gender people as outcasts; rather we should accept them for who they are.  Like Bambi and Sonamdhargey said, the Fa'afafine did not choose this gender, they are not guilty.

I think the Fa'afafine should strive to excel in their gifts and talents and contribute to society in whichever way they can.

DS Star

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Re: Fa'afafine: "Where is God?"
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2012, 02:55:14 PM »
Discrimination experienced by transgenders is never ending... Look at the statistics here:

Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander (API) transgender and gender non-conforming people face high levels of discrimination according to an analysis released today, National Transgender Discrimination Survey: A Look at Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander (API) Respondents.

The new supplemental analysis was released at the 2012 NQAPIA Conference in Washington, D.C. Among the findings:

API transgender people had a high unemployment rate at 12 percent, nearly twice the rate of the general population at the time the survey was fielded (7 percent).

API transgender people often live in extreme poverty, with 18 percent reporting a household income of less than $10,000/year. This is higher than the rate for transgender people of all races (15 percent), six times the general API population rate (3 percent) and over four times the general U.S. population rate (4 percent).

API respondents who attended school as transgender people reported alarming rates of harassment (65 percent), physical assault (39 percent) and sexual assault (19 percent) in K-12; harassment was so severe that it led 11 percent to leave school. Six percent were also expelled due to bias.

Nearly 5 percent of API transgender people reported being HIV-positive and an additional 10 percent reported that they did not know their status.

Forty-four percent (44%) of API transgender and gender non-conforming people have experienced significant family acceptance. Those respondents who were accepted by their families were much less likely to face discrimination.


...God is almighty and God is the creator of humankind, God Love all of us. But how ironic is why do God create this so call other genders and be outcast by certain group of religious practitioners?


Exactly, why created them at all and then let them be discriminated and suffered the humiliations?

...Shouldn't everyone be treated fairly? The 3rd gender are not the guilt ones. The karma of these people are so sad and instead of making it worse for the less fortunate we should understand and be kinder to them. Everyone should be treated the same with love and understanding.


As Buddhists, we should practice equanimity because all sentient beings deserve to be treated with equal rights and to seek their own happiness.

"equanimity: absence of the usual discrimination of sentient beings into friend, enemy and stranger, deriving from the realization that all sentient beings are equal in wanting happiness and not wanting suffering and that since beginningless time, all beings have been all things to each other. an impartial mind that serves as the basis for the development of great love, great compassion and bodhicitta."

http://www.lamayeshe.com/index.php?sect=search

kris

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Re: Fa'afafine: "Where is God?"
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2012, 04:13:45 PM »
There has already been a lot of discussion and debates on this matter if God will accept... Well, as what DS Star said, if they are not accepted, why create them in the first place?

From what I understand in Buddhism, any attachment to desire is not good, meaning it does not bring us closer to enlightenment. Whether it is attracted to opposite sex, or same sex, it is still attachment to desire. The "problem" is not about which sex, instead it is about the attachment itself.

brian

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Re: Fa'afafine: "Where is God?"
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2012, 03:35:08 PM »
I do not agree with them being discriminated and being treated to be an outcast to the churches. They didn't want it to be that way and furthermore they were being brought up to be that way. Why are we discriminating anyways? Just because they are 'abnormal' ? I beg to differ, there are a lot more beings in this world that are different than us and some are even more weirder than us (!) I can't understand why there are still people who discriminates in this modern world. The most apparent one these days will be racism. People like footballers often gets jeered and treated as if they are monkeys. One of my cousin who was playing professional football in Holland had got someone throwing bananas at him because he is black. How cruel!

yontenjamyang

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Re: Fa'afafine: "Where is God?"
« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2012, 11:30:46 AM »
Please do not blame "God". Why? As buddhist, I believe that many gods exist in the gods realm because of good karma. Beings in the gods realms has a lot of pride. So, one of them claimed to be the creator of the world. So for me the "God" that all the Samoans are talking about exist but is not the creator. So to blame him is like blaming sun when it is too hot. We cannot blame God for all the malice and suffering of the world.

It is actually humans who cause all the sufferings. It is the humans in the churches whatever the denomination that decreed the law that outcasted these Fa'afafine. It is very correct for the Fa'afafine to ask "Where is God". What a good question? It is also the same question for all who are suffering to ask "Where is God?". If God exist, why are we suffering? Don't it apply to us all?

Actually, we are the cause for all our suffering.

Benny

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Re: Fa'afafine: "Where is God?"
« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2012, 05:35:25 PM »
It is so sad to know that the Samoan culture had so freely embraced Christianity but Christianity had not accepted their culture. I may not be wrong to say that prior to embracing Christianity , most of the heads or leaders of the Samoan Church were themselves acceptable to this unique cultural acceptance of transgender persons ! Some of them probably had been raised by these male "sisters" who played a fundamental part in Samoan Society.

So , i find it shocking that , they the " Christians leaders " could so easily forget their kindness. Just because of the label of being Christians they are willing to discriminate their own brothers/ "sisters". Hopefully as time goes by , the new leaders of Samoan Church would be able to stand up against the on going discrimination faced by their own flesh and blood.

RedLantern

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Re: Fa'afafine: "Where is God?"
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2012, 04:12:05 PM »
In many societies males like to live as men who go to work and bring money to the family.On the other hand, women are responsible to do the housework,cooking,cleaning and take care of children.However, this idea is completely wrong in some countries especially in Samoa.Men chose to live as women and do woman's work.
The Prime Minister Tuilepa said Fa'afafine is a creation of God and they should be accepted .Both society values cultural meanings play a part in third gender acceptance.In the United States there are programs that are assembled to gain rights for this third gender.