Samoa

At a glance

  • Same-sex relations: illegal
  • Legal gender recognition: not possible
  • Registration of LGBTIQ organizations: possible
  • Actions related to SOGI at UN: opposed IE SOGI in 2016

 

Overview

The Crimes Act of Samoa, passed in 2013, outlaws “sodomy”, and bans anal and oral sex between all individuals, regardless of gender, though the law is rarely enforced. In contrast, Samoans have been protected from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation since 2013, and hate crimes on the basis of sexual orientation have been illegal since 2016. Additionally, Samoa prohibits health professionals from attempting to change a person’s sexual orientation. Despite these protections, LGBTIQ Samoans face discrimination, harassment, and social stigmatization. Politicians regularly use anti-LGBTIQ hate speech and the Censorship Board has sporadically censored movies depicting LGBTIQ people or content.

Samoans are more accepting of people with diverse gender identities because Samoa has a traditional third gender community called fa’afafine. Fa’afafine and fa’afatama were assigned male or female at birth, respectively, and embody traits from multiple genders. Despite their historical acceptance, fa’afafine have no path to legal gender recognition.