Traditional roles of Samoan fa'afafine aren't always being recognised during natural disasters
In Samoa, the third and fourth culturally recognised genders of fa'afafine and fa'afatama are widely accepted in local communities — but not being legally recognised has its challenges.
Fa'afafine, meaning “in the manner of a woman” and fa'afatama, “in the manner of a man”, are not legally recognised and are often left out of governance decisions that can impact them.
“Traditionally, in our roles as fa'afafine and fa'afatama, we are the caretakers of young children and the elderly,” said Yuki Kihara, a Samoan artist who identifies as a fa'afafine.
These are the same roles that fa'afafine and fa'afatama traditionally provided during disasters, but being excluded from the planning process for these has meant this is no longer officially the case.