Gay men walking the streets of Port Moresby are often targeted by local men, particularly those who hail from PNG's highland provinces, and have been raped, beaten and even murdered. Documentary filmmaker and photographer Vlad Sokhin noticed this when he stumbled on the village during his travels."[It's] probably the only place in Port Moresby where they feel safe and many of them, they were born in different places so they moved to Hanuabada village because they are accepted by the local community there," Vlad said.As he and his co-producer Roman Kalyakin got to know the gay and transgender people of Hanuabada, he learned that it was a safe space where people live openly, without fear of retaliation from locals."You can see many of them walking in the streets in Hanuabada and they, transgender people, they don't hide, they can wear women's clothes there," he said."Kids still chase them and call them names but at least they don't experience physical violence in the village which is quite common in Port Moresby."I heard about many cases where gay and transgender people were raped or were beaten and sometimes it was even by the police, so they feel safe in Hanuabada." About 30 gay men, or 'Gelegele' in the local tongue, permanently live in the village, while others drift in and out.One of the Gelegele featured in Vlad's documentary film Guavas and Bananas: Living Gay in PNG, is Haraga, known to locals as 'Speedy'.Speedy has lived in Hanubada village for 22 years, moving there at the age of 15.“With all the variables at play this is an educated guess, but my money is on O’Neill,” said Melanesia Programme research fellow Jonathan Pryke at the Lowy Institute in Australia.“Say what you will about his policy track record, he is clearly a master at the game of politics.
The problems of both Pacific island countries stem partly from their rocky transitions to Westminster-style government after independence, 's scattered provinces, loyalties are often more tribal than to parliament in far-away Port Moresby. Australia's conservative coalition government, led by John Howard, argues that intervention in the affairs of so-called failed states in Australia's neighbourhood is justified to stop them turning into havens for international crime and terrorism.
Opponents have accused O’Neill of mismanaging an economy hurt by slumping global commodity prices, racking up debt by recklessly spending to meet his goals.
He has also been tarred by corruption allegations, surviving a no-confidence vote last year following weeks of protests and civil disobedience urging him to resign.
The sleepy coastal village of Hanuabada sits on the north western outskirts of Papua New Guinea's capital, Port Moresby, and is probably best known for producing half of PNG's national cricket team.
What it is less known for is being a safe haven for Port Moresby's gay and transgender community.