20 January 2018

ASHM would like to share our deepest condolences for the passing of President of the Samoa Fa’afafine Association (SFA), Afioga So'oalo Roger Stanley on 20 January 2018, at the Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital in Apia, Samoa.

"We were lucky to have the pleasure of working with Roger throughout previous years with our various clinical education programs in the Pacific region; and with her organisation during a recent 'Transgender Health Training Consultation' in Fiji in December 2017 (a consultation regarding the development and design of an introductory training package aimed at health workers in Pacific countries on transgender health)," expressed Michelle O'Connor, ASHM International Program consultant.

Roger is one of the founders of SFA and was President ever since its establishment in 2006. Known to all of the fa'afafines and fa’atamaloas in Samoa as “Mama”. The work of SFA stands as a testament to the power of grassroots organizing. Roger was a nationally and regionally recognized champion for human rights and fa’afafine and fa’atamaloa empowerment. She was a pioneer in articulating the links between human rights, exploitation of fa’afafines in Samoa and the Pacific, and the health, wellbeing and security of the LGBQTI community. A fearless queen who never gave up in making a mark for SFA in national development, and who managed to engage the Honourable Prime Minister of Samoa as the Patron for their community organization.

We have lost an extraordinary activist, who showed the skills of leadership and great determination. She forged new grounds for fa’afafines and fa’atamaloas through the many programmes and projects she spearheaded, and that includes the position of SFA as another CSO Sub Recipient in the Multi-Country Western Pacific Programme. This was the first programme in Samoa, through Roger’s leadership, that managed to bring together fa’afafines and fa’atamaloas to test for STIs/HIV and know their status.

Our condolences and best wishes extend to the members of SFA and the Pacific Sexual and Gender Diversity Network PSGDN and to Roger's family, family and community.