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Father believes transgender son was murdered

Wednesday 29 June 2016 | Published in Regional

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SAMOA – Ipuniu Ioane, father of the late transgender Samoan Jeanine Ioane has forgiven those allegedly responsible for the death of Jeanine Tuivaiki, who he refers to as his son.

Speaking to Talamua Media after an early morning candle light procession in remembrance of Tuivaiki, Ipuniu said, “I forgive them.”

He strongly believes his son, who always presented himself as a woman, was beaten and murdered before he was hung to make it look like a suicide.

Jeanine was the eldest of six children and she would have been 20 on September 2016.

He spoke highly of Jeanine’s artistic touch and creativity that come through in her decorations of big events such as weddings, anniversaries, family reunions and funerals.

Two weeks prior to her death, Jeanine was commended for decorating the Malololelei Catholic Hall at Tiapapata for a wedding, which some of his friends said was her best achievement.

“Death is part of our lives and we all have to cope with it. But I do not think any parent would want to see their son’s picture in the newspaper in the manner my son was treated,” Ipuniu said.

He and family are still trying to cope with the loss of their eldest child however, after the response from the country and the Samoa Fa’afafine Association (SFA), he believes the pain of their loss has eased somewhat.

“My family is touched by the support of SFA and this candle light procession shows how much my son was loved by all of them,” said Ipuniu.

“I thank SFA for their love and for acknowledging Jeanine,” said Ipuniu.

“It is hard and painful to any parent when a child is suddenly taken from you, but my family and I are comforted by the support from the people, and we are content by the fact that my son was loved,” said Ipuniu.

“I have forgiven them all,” he told Talamua Media, as he waited for the chance to see his son buried and “farewelled with the decency any human being deserves”.

But the funeral could be sometime yet as the family has to wait until the postmortem and police investigations are done.

“I cannot interfere with the law,” he told Talamua.

Police have questioned more than five suspects in relation to Jeanine’s death and the investigation continues.

- Talamua News