Cindy of Samoa, a Glamorous Fa`afafine

By Helene, Belarus

Cindy of SamoaSamoa, traditions, customs. The combination of these words evokes some exotic images, many people will claim to know something about this country. But when you ask about the meaning of “fa’afafine”, even those who pretend to know Samoa will be quite confused. Though this is a very distinctive feature of Samoan culture, even not culture, but rather Samoan society. It is difficult to describe that mixture of emotions and feelings when I was reading about fa’afafine. Surprise, curiosity, thoughts about our society that claims to be the most human in the world, and of course, a question, how would those people feel here, in my country?

Fa`afafine is a third-gender person. Actually, those people are male biologically, but if they engage from childhood more in girls activities, if they feel more like girls, parents do not force them to get to male`s world. Such boys are grown up like girls. But they are not gays, as we are used to say, no, they are fa’afafine. They live a complete life and they are respected members of society. Moreover, if in family there are many boys but not enough girls, then some of boys could be brought up like a girl, so that fa`afafine could take care of family and help the mother around the house.

Immediately arises a question, if such people can find themselves in the modern world. And they do! As long as they were not pressurized in their families and as long as they were accepted positively in their society, they are not afraid of the world. Mostly they engage themselves in fashion, modeling, show-business, as those are creative people with very fine feelings.

Take for example, Cindy of Samoa. This is an example of how an ordinary person from Samoa can become world-famous and beloved. While reading her posts and comments I even felt a hint of envy, so much positivity and friendliness that one doubts if that person is from our world. First I thought it is a pose, nothing more than just a pose to gain some popularity, but while reading her Cindy`s posts more attentively. Some of them made me laugh, some of them seemed crazy to me, some of them made me think. But one was for sure this is an incredible person, with brilliant sense of humor, kind and loving heart, with her advantages and disadvantages and no doubt, very talented.

Cindy of SamoaUnwillingly a memory came to my mind. An old story, half-fairy-tale, half legend. Long ago there were no men and no women, people were complete and happy. So happy that gods got envious with them and divided them into two parts – a man and a woman. I think such kind of story exists in every culture, and this time Cindy of Samoa was the reason why I remembered about it.

I am not sure if fa`afafine could find a place in my country, but I am sure in one simple fact – progress was made not by ordinary people. If an ordinary person reads about fa`afafine, different feelings arise. But one is for sure they are unique, they are different, and we can learn from them many things.

White Pantyhose at Pride Parade

I found these photos on another fashion blog, they are from 2011. The owner of the blog said that this is what she wore to the Pride Parade.

I have no idea where she went for Pride, but based on the architecture and a few other hints on that blog it’s most likely Russia. Where else would you see a woman that excited about wearing white pantyhose in public with a mini skirt?

white pantyhose pride parade 1, a blond girl wearing white tights in public

white pantyhose pride parade 2 - a blond girl wearing white tights in public white pantyhose pride parade 3 - a blond girl wearing white tights in public white pantyhose pride parade 4 - a blond girl wearing white tights in public white pantyhose pride parade 5 - a blond girl wearing white tights in public

Stoli Russian Vodka Boycott in LGTB Community

Stoli Russian vodka boycott in Vancouver

Dear readers, as Vancouver’s Pride Parade is about to go on this week, the hype around the Russian vodka boycott is getting heated in our city.  I would like to present you with a response from Lena who lives in Belarus as an example of a fresh perspective on the topic.


by Lena, Belarus

Putin, Russian Vodka and Gays

Putin, Russian vodka and gays, what is the connection? If you ask this question nowadays, people may think that you are completely ignorant or you live on an uninhabited island. Russia issued anti-gay laws, that caused protests in America and activists suggested to boycott Russian vodka. Sounds ridiculous, but this is the truth.

Here we do not talk about sexual minorities. Maybe because there are not so many of them. By the way, just to specify “Here” means not in Russia. I am from Belarus. And here we really do not pay special attention to sexual minorities. People like millions of others, they work, eat, drink, relax… usual activities. We do not see any reason to speak about them too much or to forbid them to live. Politicians organize parades and shows to honor themselves. Why not gays then? I don’t think they are worse. But if you think so, you can give me reasons why.

I also do not understand what this anti-gay law is for. Why then not anti-criminals law? Criminals who took people`s lives are not forbidden, they stay in prison, eat and drink for money that we pay as taxes.

Well, Putin knows better, maybe gays are more dangerous that criminals. Here we have the same culture as Russia, I wouldn’t say that we are more democratic or more developed. We have the same religion, the same traditions. But we judge people according to their personality, their attitude to us, not by their nation or race or whether they belong to sexual minority or not.

Now about vodka. How is vodka connected with gays and Russian legislation? Completely different thing is Olympic Games in Sochi. This for sure would have influence. But I do not think that such kind of boycott can be supported by majority of people. Russia have always been and still is a great country with strong traditions and unique culture, and visiting Olympic Games can be a good reason for many foreigners to discover Russia. America can boycott the Olympic Games, but since it’s Europe here, and Europeans will gladly use such an opportunity.

But right, if Olympic Games are boycotted, this will be a good reason for Russia to think about gays once more. Though again gays will be accused, as nobody would accuse for this the Russian government. If any kind of boycotting will make the Russian government change their mind? I do not think, so, they for sure were ready for protests. At least they could forecast that there will be unsatisfied people.

Ah, by the way, again to vodka. I don’t think that boycotting of Russian vodka Stolichnaya will support the Russian gays or will make the Russian government think. It would be more logical to boycott Russian products rather than Latvian, as Stolichnaya is neither produced nor bottled in Russia any more. Anyway, the Russian government will be grateful for such protests as they wanted to get that brand back. That is why before running to streets and yelling about protests maybe better to ask yourself a question: who will have the main profit from it? In this case this is Russia who will take the main advantage.

Davie street rainbow pavement for Vancouver Pride Week 2013

Rainbow pavement on the intersection of Bute and Davie in Vancouver in the spirit of Pride Week.