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The Honolulu Police Department confirmed that the officer involved in the incident remains on full duty.

Oahu residents both for and against Hawaii's same-sex civil unions bill gathered at the Hawaii State Capitol building in Honolulu on July 6, 2010. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner) The Transgender Law Center ranks Hawaii as “medium” for its laws promoting LGBT equality. LGBT advocates say Hawaii’s native culture traditionally accepted more nuanced gender roles, and current attitudes toward gender and sexual identity in Hawaii have been affected by colonization, land seizures, the suppression of Hawaiian language and culture, and the imposition of moral codes by Western missionaries.

Before Hawaiians’ contact with outsiders, for example, Wong-Kalu says mahu individuals were respected, but faced increasing intolerance as native Hawaiians were supplanted by colonial settlers.

The term, once used respectfully, has been appropriated and displaced, said Wong-Kalu, who contends that today’s lack of acceptance is the result of colonization. “Mahu are denigrated and disrespected because of the imposition of foreign ideology.” Gender-based prejudice can be found at every level of society in Hawaii, including workplaces, houses of worship and schools. S., the question of which bathroom they can use can be a source of uncertainty for LGBT students.

But hidden behind the pristine image of this Pacific paradise is a thriving sex tourism industry. Right here." A female, possibly in her teens, is standing on a corner.

The streets are mostly empty in the mornings, but today there is some activity in a park - a fair or festival of sorts has drawn a meagre crowd. She had been doing the same thing a few blocks earlier. Bitanga says she appears too "dirty" to be a trafficked child prostitute.

Mandy Finlay, advocacy coordinator at the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii, wants Hawaii’s Department of Education to clarify its policies on school restrooms and locker room use for LGBT students, and “whether forcing kids to use a separate restroom constitutes any sort of discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sex.” In a written statement, the Hawaii State Department of Education responded, “The Department is actively working with schools on guidelines regarding transgender students and bathroom access.

In the meantime, schools work with students who identify as transgender on appropriate accommodations.” In Hawaii as across the country, transgender persons face a wide range of problems from discrimination by employers, landlords and in the public sector to higher rates of substance abuse, homelessness, health problems and suicide attempts.

“[T]he police officer acted in an outrageous manner, based upon his own moral outrage, and the police and prosecutor subjected our clients to a period of incarceration and a felony prosecution that should never have occurred,” Seitz said in an email.

Many come from Asia or mainland United States, but there are local clients as well.

After a few months of work in the city, she says, the girls are shipped to their next destination, often to major US cities such as San Francisco, Oakland, Dallas, New York or Washington DC.

A large number of the women are taken to or through Honolulu, Oahu, a centre for tourism and conventions and home to a large transient military population.

Clients are usually men with money, some military, some tourists, Xian says.

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