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Behind the Mask: Intersectional (In)Visibility of Indo-Fijian Queer Experiences

Domenica Gisella Calabrò (The University of the South Pacific, Fiji)
Romitesh Kant (The Australian National University, Australia)
Sidhant Maharaj (The University of the South Pacific, Fiji)
Jasbant Kaur (The University of the South Pacific, Fiji)

Gender Visibility and Erasure

ISBN: 978-1-80382-594-6, eISBN: 978-1-80382-593-9

ISSN: 1529-2126

Publication date: 15 August 2022


The Fijian LGBTQI+ movement has significantly grown, shaped around a more significant Pacific identity. The participation of queer activists from the Indo-Fijian community, which represents about 35% of Fiji’s population, is limited, and the struggles, needs, and aspirations of this LGBTQI+ community are mainly invisible. This invisibility is framed within Fiji’s political conflicts. However, there is also a form of self-censorship due to cultural and religious barriers, as well as to dynamics that speak about the trauma of the indentured system and postcolonial violence. Contemporaneously, non-political spaces provide avenues for visibility. While some Indo-Fijian religious contexts welcome gender and sexual diversity forms, these are becoming visible aided by popular social media platforms and Bollywood cinema’s influence. This project explores the dynamics of the Indo-Fijian queer community within Fiji and its broader LGBTQI+ movement, aiming to identify barriers specific to their community and strategies for recognition, visibility, and participation in advocacy and activism. The project is approached as activist research and includes interviews and group discussions with Indo-Fijians self-identifying LGBTQI+.




We are grateful to our research participants for sharing their stories, opinions and aspirations with us. We would also like to thank all the people, including non-Indo-Fijian members of CSOs, who contributed to the shaping of this project.


Calabrò, D.G., Kant, R., Maharaj, S. and Kaur, J. (2022), "Behind the Mask: Intersectional (In)Visibility of Indo-Fijian Queer Experiences", Segal, M.T. and Demos, V. (Ed.) Gender Visibility and Erasure (Advances in Gender Research, Vol. 33), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 33-50.



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