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Directed by Hina Wong-Kalu, Dean Hamer, Joe Wilson

Cast: Joey Joleen Mataele, Eva Baron, Tuita-Taione, Barry Taukolo, Salote Lupepau’u

Official Selection, 2018 Outfest LGBTQ Film Festival

From the filmmakers of Kumu Hina (SDAFF ‘14), and co-produced by Kumu Hina (Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu) herself, LEITIS IN WAITING is a look at the fight for basic human rights in the Kingdom of Tonga.

Transgender Tongans who identify as “leitis” (from the English “lady”) – despite serving as invaluable servants in the family home, in the royal court, and in church – are facing increasing intolerance in Tonga, a former British protectorate, where traditional culture often clashes with modern religious fundamentalism.

As a way to empower the leiti community, the Tonga Leitis Association, co-led by Joey Joleen Mataele, puts on the annual Miss Galaxy beauty pageant, a platform for leitis to showcase their talents and tell their stories. One year, in lieu of a pageant, the association decides to convene a forum for Tongans to share dialogue with each other in an effort to build relationships and address stigma. In spite of opposing viewpoints, support for the leiti community and a willingness to have difficult conversations emerges.

Facing everyday discrimination and sometimes violent hate crimes, the leitis’ experiences reveal what it takes to thrive in a society influenced by outside forces without forsaking culture, tradition, and – most importantly – who you are.

Wilda Wong

Co-Presented by: The Worldview Project, Film Out San Diego, Bionic Sisters Productions

Preceded By


Directed by Kat Cole

A cinematic letter to a transphobic 100-year-old grandmother-in-law, and a fianceé’s loving attempts to navigate family visits.

Dates & Times


Unknown Venue

Wed, Nov 14
7:55 pm