LGBTQIA+ rights and issues in the Pacific

LGBTQIA+ rights and issues in the Pacific


The global campaign to secure protections for LGBTQIA+ people has made significant progress in recent years, yet laws governing LGBTQIA+ rights in the Pacific are complex across the region and acceptance of LGBTQIA+ individuals varies widely.

On 1-3 March 2023, Australia hosted the Sydney WorldPride Human Rights Conference – the largest LGBTQIA+ human rights conference ever to be held in the southern hemisphere. In this episode of the Lowy Institute’s Pacific Change Makers Podcast, Hamish Fejo, a Visiting Fellow in the Pacific Islands Program at the Lowy Institute, speaks with presenters at the conference, Phylesha Brown-Acton and Louisa Wall.


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Phylesha Brown-Acton is a Fakafifine woman and hails from the village of Fineone Hakupu Atua, Niue Island. She is the Executive Director of F’INE Pasifika Aotearoa Trust, a Pacific Whanau Ora funded organisation that provides navigation support services to MVPFAFF+ & Pacific LGBTQIA+ people and their families in the Auckland region.

Louisa Wall became Aotearoa New Zealand’s first Ambassador for Gender Equality (Pacific) Tuia Tangata in May 2022. She is a former politician and was influential in the Marriage Amendment Bill being passed into law in 2013 making New Zealand the 13th nation to allow same-sex marriage. As Ambassador for Gender Equality, Ms Wall is working with Pacific countries to establish net partnerships and programmes that support the full and effective participation by women and LGBTQIA+ communities. 



Areas of expertise: First Nations foreign policy and climate change