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Fiji Time: 7:33 PM on Wednesday 17 September

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Group holds vigil for lives lost

Tevita Vuibau
Saturday, May 17, 2014

THE Wesley Butt St Church may have been one of the most unlikely venues for the LGBTIQ community to make history considering the differing beliefs of both.

But on Sunday history was what took place when the church and the Rainbow Pride Foundation hosted a candlelight peace vigil to remember those who lost their lives because of their sexual orientation.

Representatives of the gay and lesbian community shared their respective stories — talking of the discrimination and at time hate they experienced — based solely on their preferences.

However it was also a time for the church community and the LGBTIQ community to build bridges and focus on the way forward for both.

Reverend Jeremaia Waqainabete delivered a sermon at the service and said it was a time to agree to disagree, noting that while the beliefs of people may differ — they remained all children of God.

On hand to share his experience was noted gay rights voices Peter Sipeli who explained how being a gay man in a deeply religious Catholic family turned out for him.

He also spoke of the pressure of being an only son who was expected to carry on the family name and how conversations around the fact were sometimes difficult to have.

HIV positive male Benjamin Christopher Lutukivuya also delivered a poignant message relating to how he faced a double stigma as a homosexual HIV positive man.