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Leitis in Waiting Impact Campaign Highlighted in ILGA Report on State-Sponsored Homophobia

Wellington, 20 March 2019 - On 20 March, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) launched the 13th edition of its flagship publication, State-Sponsored Homophobia, authored by Lucas Ramón Mendos.

This publication compiles data on laws that affect people on the basis of their sexual orientation - a fundamental resource for researchers, civil society organisations, governments and the general public. They are a powerful tool in the struggle for a more just and inclusive society. Download full report HERE.

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2Dean Hamer
The LGBTQ Documentaries You Need to See This Year Around the World - Huck Magazine

As the BFI Flare London Film Fest gears up for its launch, festival programmer Zorian Clayton highlights the best documentaries from the 2019 programme. “The Leitis, like in many parts of the Pacific Islands and across Asia, have a historic third gender – one that occupies a space close to trans and non-binary identities. Because it’s an island that largely avoided colonisation, they managed to retain a more inclusive understanding of gender. Homophobia and transphobia are being brought to these Polynesian islands now with the arrival of western culture, and people who have been accepted for many, many centuries are under threat. It’s a unique insight into how precarious these traditions can be, but it also offers a potential look at how our thinking about gender could change for the better.”

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2Dean Hamer
"A Fearless Film for the Mardi Gras Film Fest" - Sydney Arts Guide

Since Nanook was captured on film fishing through a hole in the Northern ice, the documentary form has brought millions of other lives into our own.  In a stunning choice by Queer Screen’s Mardi Gras Film Festival, Tonga’s Leitis community will warm your heart, give you hope and inspire you to be Fearless. Leitis in Waiting is an emotional and motivating feature documentary about the transgender community of the Kingdom of Tonga.

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2Dean Hamer
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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2Dean Hamer
"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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2Dean Hamer
"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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2Dean Hamer
"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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2Dean Hamer