Queen Elizabeth Bestows Commonwealth Point of Light Award on Tonga's Joey Joleen Mataele
Joey Joleen Mataele, representing Tonga, is an entertainer and leading advocate for LGBT rights in the Pacific region, using song, humour and dance to promote issues which affect the transgender community.
In 1992, she co-founded the ‘Tonga Leitis Association’ which has grown to nearly 500 members and the Patron of the organisation is Honorable Salote Lupepau Tuita, the eldest daughter of Her Royal Highness Princess Salote. Joey Joleen also founded the ‘Miss Galaxy Queen Pageant’, an annual event supported by the Tongan Royal Family which celebrates the diversity and creativity of the Leitis community, attracting up to 15,000 attendees each year.
Joey Joleen said:
“I am truly honoured to accept this award on behalf of all the LGBTI community here in the Kingdom of Tonga and I would like to dedicate the award to all that have suffered and have passed on due to stigma and discrimination just because of their sexual orientation, gender identities and sexual characteristics.”
Melanie Hopkins, non-resident UK High Commissioner to Tonga, said:
“I am very pleased that Joleen’s work in Tonga and the Pacific advocating LGBTQI rights has been recognised and I congratulate her for this award.”