I see myself as a citizen of the world. The Cook Islands is a very special place. After spending two weeks here last December and two weeks this month, I am in the midst of negotiating plans for a fundraiser to benefit the local SPCA with a “12 days of Christmas” promotion to be held at the property co-owned by Pa Napa, who also runs the local cinema here.
I respectfully ask that you read further and thank you for at least hearing my perspective. I met Mr Napa just days ago when invited to the birthday celebration of his sister, Tia Bergin.
The warm welcome, hospitality and “Kia Orana spirit” extended to me by the Napa family the last two weeks shows me that Cook Islanders are an accepting and loving people.
I implore each of you in reading this to pick up the phone, send an email and help me over the next couple of days to overturn this impending ban.
I am speaking out on behalf of the nearly 2,000 Cook Islanders here and even more abroad as many would agree with my stance but may not speak out publicly.
Bans like this only perpetuate negative stereotypes and in extreme cases can result in physical harm or worse to people in the LBGTQ community.
It was just after 6 am here when I saw this news on the cover of the Cook Islands News. Rather than fly to New Zealand today, I will be asking for an emergency meeting with Pa Napa and would like to involve in this discussion Cook Islands chief censor, Dennis Tangirere and Valentino Wichman of the Te Tiare Association (if someone in this email could connect me with these last two gentlemen).
I was lucky enough to watch the movie a couple nights ago here and it is a vitally important movie for those in the LGBTQ community to see, and even more important for the thousands of Cook Islanders who support us.
Please do not disregard or attempt to silence me for speaking out. This is about dignity and human decency and mutual respect and might I say, the true Kia Orana spirit of love and acceptance of all peoples. All peoples.
Thank you again for hearing my voice and please help me to turn this “likely” ban into a more productive discussion of acceptance.
West Hollywood, CA