Leitis in Waiting
You've heard of ladies in waiting, but have you heard of leitis in waiting? In Tonga, the smallest kingdom in the world, these indigenous transgender women have traditionally played a central role in society as attendants to the royal family. However, a recent influx of foreign evangelism has seen a rise in discrimination in this conservative island paradise.
Joey Joleen Mataele, a leiti of noble blood who founded the Tonga Leitis Association is leading the fight for equal rights. She’s a quiet force to be reckoned with; hosting the joyful and hilarious Miss Galaxy Queen beauty pageant, challenging the homophobic preachings of a US-backed Tongan televangelist, and addressing a United Nations panel on LGBTIQ rights.
From the team that produced audience fave Kumu Hina (MGFF15), this fascinating documentary is a rare glimpse into the culture of leitis (“ladies”) and their struggle for respect.
"Leitis in Waiting is a true gift to the world - mesmerizing and unflinching" - Jeannette Hereniko, President, Network for the Promotion of Asian Pacific Cinema
Join Us! For a Q&A with documentary subject Joey Joleen Mataele