‘And every word a lie’: Samoan gender-divergent communities, language and epistemic violence

Luka Leleiga Lim-Bunnin

In many constructions of what constitutes ‘the Samoan community’, the experiences and perspectives of fa’a’afa, fa’a(fa)tama, fa’afafine, trans folks and non-binary as well as further ‘gender-divergent’ people are often elided, conflated, glossed over or absent. One way of describing these occurrences is as forms of epistemic violence. The primary claim of this article is that language is a major site of epistemic violence against Samoan genderdivergent communities, specifically via usages of the terms ‘third gender’ and ‘LGBTQIA+’, as well as through binarism, enforced absence, slurs and segregation. These occurrences are relevant to discussions of violence, particularly those rooted in colonial structures of gender. The significance of the article’s assertions can be found in Indigenous sovereignty movements, the aims of which will never be achieved until colonial-derived violence within Indigenous societies is recognised, dismantled and remedied.

Research Type(s)
Journal Article
Submitted by Almah Tararia
May 25, 2022
Published in

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