Film about Tonga's Transgender population premieres at Hawaii International Film Festival - KITV

The latest film from Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson, who brought the similarly themed KUMU HINA to HIFF in 2014, brings another fiercely outspoken advocate into the limelight, as Joey defends the rights of the leitis and all LGBTQ Tongans by encouraging direct dialogue with their vitriolic opposition. It is a true portrait of pride and poise in an island paradise tainted by the tendrils of western cultural colonialism. - KITV

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"Film Hopes To Change Mindset About LGBTI People" - Fiji Sun

A feature documentary being screened in Suva hopes to change the mindset of the public about the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ+) commu­nity.

Titled ‘Leitis in Waiting’ by Dean Hamer, Joe Wilson and Kumu Hina Wong-Kalu, the 71-minute film premiered at Village 6 Cinemas on Tuesday.

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"Leitis in Waiting | LGBT+ and Cultural Diversity" - Culture Hub Magazine Northern Ireland

To many of us, the South Pacific may almost seem like a different realm altogether but paradoxically, attitudes there have an all-too-familiar backdrop when it comes to the subject of the LGBT+ community. This is a story of LGBT+ and Cultural Diversity: The emotional journey of what it means to be different in a society ruled by tradition, and what it takes to be accepted without forsaking who you are.

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"Leitis in Waiting" Has Huge Impact on Samoa Audience - The Coconet TV

The Samoa premiere of "Leitis in Waiting" took place on the last night of the ILGA Oceania conference in Apia.

The documentary had a huge impact on the local audience:

“Faced with humiliation, cruelty and their dreams openly with us.  Struggling for human rights and the right to love and be loved, I was overwhelmed with how brave the leitis are despite their challenges"

“The Leitis movie was insightful and inspiring. All the hard work that Joleen does is incredible. The most unforgettable part was when her daughter, a young Leiti who had been given an ultimatum-to stop being who she is or leave the family home-came out in the gold dress for the miss galaxy pageant. She looked so beautiful"

“It was extremely powerful to be able to experience through this film, the untold stories of our sisters, the Leiti’s in Tonga. There is so much power in narratives like Jolene’s.” - Briana Fruean

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Leitis in Waiting Premieres in Tonga - Matangi Tonga

On August 21, at the Tanoa International Dateline Hotel, Her Royal Highness Princess Pilolevu hosted a reception and screening of 'Leitis in Waiting' - a one-hour documentary depicting the lives and challenges of leitis in Tonga, a transgender minority group fighting for equality. The special event served as the open of the 2018 edition of the Nuku'alofa Film Festival.

HRH Princess Pilolevu attended the pre-screening reception at the Tanoa Hotel and was presented with a copy of the documentary by the directors.

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Petition Urges Pacific Islands Forum to Pressure Member Nations on Homosexuality Law Reform - ABC Radio Australia

At least 2,000 people have put their name to a petition sponsored by the Leitis in Waiting Pacific Equality Project and the Pacific Human Rights Initiative calling on the Pacific Islands Forum to use its influence to help decriminalize homosexuality.

LGTBI advocates behind the petition argue that while PIF says it promotes equality for all people in the Pacific, seven of its member states still criminalise homosexuality.

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"An Absorbing Plunge into Leitis’ Unique Role in Tonga" - The Utah Review

Mataele remains an articulate, dignified, wise leader in a film that highlights a beautiful nation and a different perspective on activism that seeks collaboration with the country’s most cherished institutions. The leitis are committed to staying in their communities because they value Tongan culture and social relationships. Leitis in Waiting emerges as a documentary that is a catalyst for meaningful, sustained change that sets mutual dignity and respect for all community sectors.

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