Wellington Outgames volunteer Ken Moala may live on Queensland’s Gold Coast, but he has dreams that extend much further into the Pacific.
Having lived in Samoa for 30 years before moving to Australia, he believes the Asia Pacific Outgames would be the ideal way to challenge anti-gay and anti-sodomy laws that are still law in many Pacific island nations.
“My vision is that we will hold our own Outgames in the Pacific,” he said.
“Samoa does have the facilities to stage the event, and the people are remarkably warm and accepting.
“So long as it didn’t threaten the culture and we respect the society and its cultural framework, it could be a great success.”
Moala believes the Outgames could be the ideal way to respectfully challenge those laws in the Pacific that actively discriminate against gays and lesbians.
“I am one of the co-founders of the Pacific Sexuality Network (for Fa’afafine), so I understand how it could be done,” he said.
“I started volunteering at the Sydney Gay Games in 2002 when I led a delegation of 25 athletes through the stadium.
“That’s what started to get me thinking, so I volunteered for the Cologne Gay Games last year as well to start to see how the event runs.
“I’ve fallen in love with the games, with the way it brings people together to share their stories, their success and to network.
“I feel enriched when I participate, and I think it would bring great joy to the community in the Pacific.”
Moala, which is a qualified traditional Polynesian masseur, said he would now start having conversations with the people who could help bring his dream to fruition.
“We need to be thinking of ways we can start helping, he said. “One of these ways we could do this is to help out and get involved in the Outgames – share the community, share the diversity and share the love.”