WHILE the international day against homophobia and transphobia will be marked this Saturday, aspiring politician Roshika Deo says it is important to highlight the issues affecting the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) community.
"Violence, discrimination and stigmatisation are a daily fact of life for many members of the LGBTIQ community," Ms Deo said.
She said the bullying and discrimination in schools, hospitals, workplaces, the violence and ridicule on the streets and in public spaces, the stigmatisation in society and homes were some of the elements contributing to the transphobic/homophobic conditions of some members of the LGBTIQ community.
"When we speak of a violence-free Fiji, it also means a Fiji where people are not beaten up for perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity.
"A Fiji where its entire people are treated with equality, respect and dignity and free from discrimination also includes the members of the LGBTIQ community.
"A lot of the times, it is our own fear, insecurity, misunderstanding and prejudice that guide our behaviour and attitude against the very people we love and care for."
Ms Deo hopes that this year will mark the beginning of a change where humanity prevails over our intolerance and hate.