Leitis in Waiting challenges attitudes - Wansolwara: University of the South Pacific

By CHRIS HA’ARABE - Wansolwara - Sept. 5, 2018:

The award-winning documentary, Leitis in Waiting, has come to Fiji with strong messages that challenge attitudes and behaviours towards the transgender minority community.

During a press briefing at The University of the South Pacific’s Oceania Centre in Suva yesterday, lead protagonist in the film, Joey Mataele, said there were a lot of untold stories that needed to be shared.

“In this film, I want to tell my story. I want to tell the world what we, transgender individuals, have been facing in the past,” said Mataele, who hails from Tonga.

“Respect is one of the main problems I’ve encountered in my own society. We should respect each other, respect our dignity and treat each other like human beings.”

The film, which is supported by the Pacific Community’s Pacific Equality Project, is the centerpiece of a campaign that uses and challenges attitudes that stigmatise, threaten and in many countries, criminalise LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex) lives.

The project’s assistant co-ordinator, Benjamin Patel, said the film was about sharing the views and concerns of the LGBTQI community.

“It’s about sharing our views as a minority group so that people will see and understand who we really are,” Patel said.

The film’s producer and director, Dean Hamer, said through visual arts and video making, the world would be able to see what actually happens in the South Pacific kingdom of Tonga.

“Looking at these strategic types of cultures, many people in the Pacific will think that this kind of culture or practice is not from the Pacific,” Hamer said.

2Dean Hamer