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Gender on the EdgeTransgender, Gay, and Other Pacific Islanders$
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Niko Besnier and Kalissa Alexeyeff

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780824838829

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824838829.001.0001

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Same Sex, Different Armies

Same Sex, Different Armies

Sexual Minority Invisibility among Fijians in the Fiji Military Forces and British Army

(p.266) Chapter 12 Same Sex, Different Armies
Gender on the Edge

Teresia K. Teaiwa

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the invisibility of Fiji's sexual minorities, particularly women, serving in the Fiji Military Forces (FMF) and the British Army (BA). Drawing on interviews, anecdotal evidence, and fieldwork observations among women soldiers and other service personnel in both Fiji and the UK between 2008 and 2009, it considers the complex layers of tolerance and intolerance that can coexist in Fiji and influence the everyday experience of those who identify as sexual minorities. The chapter first provides an overview of some of the cultural and linguistic contexts for identifying and discussing same-sex categories in Fiji. It then looks at colloquial terms that have been used to address individuals with a same-sex orientation and reads this alongside major lexicographies. It also explores same-sex issues in relation to military service for indigenous Fijians in the BA and FMF that highlights the complexities of social and cultural values and concepts at play. Finally, it outlines the challenges that surround research on sexual minorities under conditions of invisibility.

Keywords:   sexual minorities, women, Fiji Military Forces, British Army, Fiji, same-sex orientation, military service, cultural values, women soldiers

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