A senior Micronesia senator has soured a month of historic moments for the Micronesia’s LGBTI community. Senator Isaac V Figir introduced a bill to parliament to prevent trans people working for the national government.
The Federated States of Micronesia is an archipelago of islands in the Western Pacific. It lies about 2,900 km (1,802 mi) north of eastern Australia. FSM is made up of four states with a population of about 105,000 people and Christianity is the main religion.
It has been a huge month for FSM’s LGBTI community. On Monday the country hosted its first ever Pride event and parade in the state of Pohnpei. The College of Micronesia’s LGBTQ+ group organized the event attended by a cross-section of allies and LGBTI people.
Then in November the parliament passed a law that would banned discrimination ‘on account of race, sex, sexual orientation, language, or religion’.
That same bill also decreed that ‘no law shall be enacted which discriminates against any person on account of race, sex, sexual orientation, language, or religion, nor shall the equal protection of the laws be denied’.
Isaac V Figir
But all that progress came undone when Senator Figir introduced the controversial bill in November.
It is not clear what motivated Figir to introduce the bill, as he has not responded to requests for comment.
LGBTI people in FSM and across the Pacific islands have responded in horror to the bill.
‘This ridiculous banning of an LGBTQ from ever working in the government office is just full of dumb narrow minded people who in the first place shouldn’t be in that or holding such position,’ one LGBTI advocate told Gay Star News.
Make-up artist and LGBTI activist, Eddie Nathan Winis, condemned the bill.
‘Why can’t a transgender work in the National Government of the Federated States of Micronesia? Our government is corrupt and doing much more harm to our people than any homosexual in our community,’ Winis told Pacific Daily News.