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. - KITVRead More
Audiences accustomed to stories about rising sea levels in the Pacific, are introduced to another sort of rising tide in the Kingdom of Tonga. Leitis in Waiting presents the high spirits of a transsexual beauty pageant alongside religious fundamentalism that condemns both the pageant and the lifestyles it represents.
A film screening this week in Honolulu highlights the struggle of transgender women in Tonga.Read More
Leitis in Waiting is a must see for those who desire a film that shows the effects of culture change and highlights the impact of transformative justice.Read More
Lepolo Taunisila of the Pacific Community's Regional Rights Resource Team speaks eloquently about human rights in response to an evangelical pastor's comments at the Tonga Leitis Association's national consultation on inclusion and equality for all in the Kingdom.Read More
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.Read More
The award-winning documentary, Leitis in Waiting, has come to Fiji with strong messages that challenge attitudes and behaviours towards the transgender minority community.Read More
The Pacific Community’s Regional Rights Resource Team yesterday announced the screening of the internationally recognized and award winning documentary "Leitis in Waiting”.Read More
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.Read More
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 FrueanRead More
Artalk manager Sipeli said the documentary was a good opportunity to highlight challenges and difficulties faced by the LGBTQI and people in the Pacific including Fiji.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
Why did you make your film? We made "Leitis in Waiting" because Joey Joleen Mataele, one of the founders of the Tonga Leitis Association and most prominent leitis in the Kingdom, invited us to Tonga to show Kumu Hina, our previous movie about a similar subject in Hawaii, and said afterward: "We've long dreamed about having our stories told. Can you help us?"Read More
The plight of the Leitis caught the eye of award-winning US filmmakers Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson, whose film Leitis In Waiting, they say, is the first time anyone has told the story of the famous Leitis from the perspective of the group themselves.Read More
She's been the face of Tonga's Leiti community for the last 25 years, and now her story is featuring in a documentary screening in cities around the world. Joey Joleen Mataele says it's been an amazing journey, but not without its traumatic moments. Soana K-Aholelei of TVNZ's Tagata Pasifika sat down with the courageous transgender activist. Watch the video HERE.Read More