Leitis In Waiting
The filmmaking team behind the ground-breaking feature documentary Kumu Hina (VQFF 2017) is back, this time in collaboration with the transgender women and gender-diverse Leitis of the Pacific Island of Tonga. Tonga is the only Pacific Island that did not experience direct invasion and colonization, and traditionally, Leitis have held central and often revered roles in Tongan society. But the gradual rise of Catholicism and colonial forces have created critical barriers. Today, Tonga’s Civil Offences Act criminalises cross dressing and sodomy.
Driven to fight for justice, visibility, and tradition, Joey Joleen Mataele forms the Tongan Leitis Association. Leitis in Waiting follows this newly-founded association as its members advocate for decriminalization and organise their celebrated annual Leitis Pageant.
Leitis in Waiting will be preceded by the short film Muxes, which documents the lives and roles of the “Muxes” of the Zapotec people.
This film is rated PG and shown in Tongan and English.