The story of Joey Mataele and the Tonga leitis, an intrepid group of native transgender women fighting a rising tide of religious fundamentalism in their South Pacific Kingdom

 

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Over the course of an eventful year, LEITIS IN WAITING follows Joey, a devout Catholic of noble descent, as she organizes an exuberant beauty pageant presided over by a princess, mentors a young leiti rejected by her family, and spars with American-style evangelicals threatening to resurrect colonial-era laws that would criminalize their lives. With unprecedented access to church leaders and the Royal family, this emotional journey reveals what it means to be different in a society ruled by tradition, and what it takes to be accepted without forsaking who you are.

Leitis in Waiting is a co-production with Pacific Islanders in Communications.  Coming in 2018

 
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Meet the irrepressible Eva Baron, a determined young transgender woman who sets off on a journey of self-discovery in the Kingdom of Tonga - with a little help from Tina Turner.

This 11 minute short film has been a hit on the festival circuit.  It is now available at no cost for community screenings, educational use and advocacy.  Please contact the filmmakers for details.

 
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Imagine a world where a little boy can grow up to be the woman of his dreams, and a young girl can rise to become a leader among men.

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Welcome to Kumu Hina's Hawaiʻi.

During a momentous year in her life in modern Honolulu, Hina Wong-Kalu, a native Hawaiian māhū, or transgender, teacher uses traditional culture to inspire a student to claim her place as leader of the school's all-male hula troupe. But despite her success as a teacher, Hina longs for love and a committed relationship. Will her marriage to a headstrong Tongan man fulfill her dreams? As Hina's arduous journey unfolds, her Hawaiian roots and values give her the strength and wisdom to persevere, offering a new perspective on the meaning of aloha.

 
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The true story of a young girl in Hawaiʻi who dreams of leading the boys-only hula group at her school, and a teacher who empowers her through traditional culture. 

This kid-friendly educational film is a great way to get students thinking and talking about the values of diversity and inclusion, the power of knowing your heritage, and how to prevent bullying by creating a school climate of aloha – from their own point of view!

The complete film and a variety of resources including a learning guide and the Pledge of Aloha are available for free

 

A Place in the Middle.org