Qwaves

LEITIS IN WAITING

Leitis in Waiting is a candid portrait 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.

The film follows Joey, a devout Catholic of noble descent, as she organizes an exuberant beauty pageant presided over by a princess, provides shelter and training for a young contestant rejected by her family, and spars with American-financed evangelicals threatening to resurrect colonial-era laws that would criminalize the leitis' lives. With unexpected humor and extraordinary access to the Kingdom's royals and religious leaders, Joey╩╗s emotional journey reveals what it means to be different in a society ruled by tradition, and what it takes to be accepted without forsakingculture and tradition.


Premiere: The British Museum.   Broadcast: PBS/Pacific Heartbeat, ARTE.   Awards: Audience Award, Festival of Commonwealth Film; Special Jury Prize, FIFO Tahiti

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