PACIFIC PORTRAITS

Oceanic people across the gender spectrum were invited to present themselves as they prefer to be seen. These portraits are just a glimpse of efforts to discover, reclaim, and establish new cultural traditions that recognize and honor gender diversity and inclusion. You can submit your portrait for consideration here.

Phylesha Brown-Acton

My mother teaches me “We all have a place and a role without judgment.”
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Phylesha Brown-Acton
Niue

Joey Joleen Mataele

I am Leiti and an advocate working to ensure that Pacific nations accept their transgender citizens for who we are and the contributions we make to society. Read More >>

Joey Joleen Mataele
Tonga

Kapuaokalani Kaʻauʻa

As a māhū wahine, a transwoman, culture is the refuge and the best way to ground oneself – existing, and thriving, by our birthright. Read More >>

Kapuaokalani Kaʻauʻa
Hawaii

Vanila Galumulivai Ualegalu Heather
I am a leader of The Rogers, the first organized group of fa‘atama in the Pacific Islands. We work together like a family, and we want our family to grow. Read More >>

Vanila Galumulivai Ualegalu Heather
 Samoa

Peter Daniel Sipeli
Poetry has created a process for family healing and has lifted me from that isolation. Read More >>

Peter Daniel Sipeli
Fiji

Iyanne Paongo
I am a trans woman of Tongan heritage living in San Francisco and have been involved in quiet activism for decades. Read More >>

Iyanne Paongo
Tonga

Crimsona Amistad-Kaiser
In the 1980s, I was one of a dozen trans models in Europe who paved the way for others. Read More >>

Crimsona Amistad-Kaiser
Guam

Jodi Kuʻuleialoha Kauhi
I am a Native Hawaiian transgender woman and I want to help serve and protect elders in our Native Hawaiian LGBTQ community. Read More >>

Jodi Kuʻuleialoha Kauhi
Hawaiʻi

Roquin-Jon Q. Siongco
I am Chamoru and identify as Geʻla (Indigenous, Pacific Queer Non-binary Islander) still on a journey of discovery. Read More >>

Roquin-Jon Q. Siongco
Guam

Loleni Antonio Selesele
I am more than flesh and bone, color and gender. I’ve always felt a free spirit within my soul as my true authentic self. Read More >>

Loleni Antonio Selesele
Samoa

Valentino ‘Valery’ Wichman
I am a proud trans woman who draws her mana from ancestors who traveled Te Moana Nui O Kiva. I am trying to fight for equality for all. Read More >>

Valentino ‘Valery’ Wichman
Rarotonga & Atiu (Cook Islands)

Anfernee Nenol Kaminaga
I am a non-conforming, or gender queer, male pansexual perceived as radical because I speak my mind.

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Anfernee Nenol Kaminaga
Lolelaplap (Marshall Islands)

Loleni Antonio Selesele
I am faʻafafine and queer of Samoa and Iranian heritage and would love to see island communities embracing of consensual celebrations of sensuality, sexuality, and care centered on faʻafafine, faʻatama, queer, and non-binary folks. Read More >>

Loleni Antonio Selesele
Sāmoa

Amao Leota Lu
I am a proud Samoan faʻafafine, or trans woman, with hope that my faʻafafine community, and all from the Pacific who identify under the extended rainbow realm, will achieve levels of equality and human rights that enable them to thrive. Read More >>

Amao Leota Lu
Sāmoa

Jocelyn Kapumealani Ng
As a multi-dimensional creative, I collaborate with my community to hold up mirrors in which queer artists of color imagine new worlds, reclaim spaces, and empower one another. Read More >>

Jocelyn Kapumealani Ng
Hawaiʻi

Tony K. Fretton
I identify as faʻafafine and queer and want our Pacific Island communities to be fiercely proud in our cultural, gender, and sexual identities. Read More >>

Tony K. Fretton
Samoa

Tia Aukaimalia Thompson
My hope is that more trans female athletes will begin to participate in all sports. Read More >>

Tia Aukaimalia Thompson
Hawaiʻi

Henry Ah-Foo Taripo
I promote peace, acceptance, and equality for all through my performance art and original music. Read More >>

Henry Ah-Foo Taripo
Rarotonga (Cook Islands)

Tebeio Tamton
I identify as an i-Kiribati, a binabinaaine – a general term for gay, bisexual and transgender – and my dream is to live in a village where one does not have to be afraid of being who they are. Read More >>

Tebeio Tamton
Kiribati

Francis Diamond
I’m a feminine man always mistaken for a trans woman. While my culture does not accept me as I am, I have learned to love, cherish and respect myself. Read More >>

Francis Diamond

Leli Darling
I am a transgender woman, passionate about building a future that is blind to religious dogma and transphobic and homophobic social norms. Read More >>

Leli Darling
Fiji

Raven Makana Yamamoto
My gender expression and understanding of my identity, evolving in my earlier years, was always seen as strange. Read More >>

Raven Makana Yamamoto
Hawai’i

Te Okotai a Tearuru Paitai
I have great admiration for those working to decolonize the minds of our people. Read More >>

Te Okotai a Tearuru Paitai
Rarotonga (Cook Islands)

Jaimie Waititi
As a gender fluid person, it is difficult to find spaces that hold me as a whole person. I am constantly learning and unlearning about who I am. Read More >>

Jaimie Waititi
Aotearoa

Ruby J Maemackie Fualaʻau
I am an unapologetic faʻafafine, or transgender woman, of Samoan descent expressing my creativity and passion by occupying foreign spaces. Read More >>

Ruby J Maemackie Fualaʻau
Samoa

Miss Katalyna Clark
As a Samoan transwomanI want to inspire my people to accept faʻafafine and my community to reach our highest potential, because we are valid. Read More >>

Miss Katalyna Clark
Samoa

Paul Poloka
I am a gender non-conforming queer man  who stands up for gender, sexual, and racial equality and equity, and contribute to collective efforts to address environmental injustice and climate change. Read More >>

Paul Poloka
Papua New Guinea

Leilani A Visesio-Iʻiga
While Faʻa Samoa, or the Samoan Way, says that everyone has a place, I have been both included and excluded in my community. Read More >>

Leilani A Visesio-Iʻiga
Samoa

Elise Kaualilinoe Fuyuko Kama
I aspire to be part of the movement to preserve māhū culture, because that is also preserving Hawaiian culture. Read More >>

Elise Kaualilinoe Fuyuko Kama
Hawaiʻi

Myles Kaleikini Markham
I am Kanaka Maoli, Japanese American, and Hapa Haole, a mixture of Hawaiian and European, determined to assemble, remember, and storytell our heritage back into existence. Read More >>

Myles Kaleikini Markham
Hawaiʻi

Lasarusa Seru
I am an i Taukei Indigenous transgender woman using my voice to tell stories and paint pictures that help my community imagine a world where we all belong and can succeed.
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Lasarusa Seru
Fiji

Beauty Moeleinohalani Jackson
The respect and love I have earned from both sides have made me a big-hearted person, and I do my best to bring that out in others too. Read More >>

Beauty Moeleinohalani Jackson
Samoa

Em Branvold
If we do that work, I believe that we will not have to choose between culture and identity. Read More >>

Em Branvold
Tonga

Alika Masei & Ian Tapu 
We are queer, mixed-Samoan cisgender men who want our future children to feel that they absolutely belong in any space they enter. Read More >>

Alika Masei & Ian Tapu
Samoa

Lehuaakea
I am an artist and kapa maker and have stepped into my identity as māhūwahine. Read More >>

Lehuaakea
Pacific Northwest

Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu

I am Kanaka Maoli — a native person descended from the original inhabitants of the islands of Hawai’i.  We need to be active participants in telling our own stories in our own way.

Read More >>

Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu
Hawaiʻi

SUBMISSIONS

The creative team behind award-winning films Kumu Hina and Leitis in Waiting is partnering with the Bernice Pau’ahi Bishop Museum in Honolulu to curate an exhibition featuring a collection of portraits of gender diverse Pacific Islanders whose identity and expression are rooted in their cultural backgrounds. The concept stems from the fervent belief that visibility and representation play a powerful role in the struggle for acceptance and respect for gender and sexual minorities everywhere.

To reflect contemporary understandings and realities, and illuminate new possibilities, Pacific Islanders across the gender spectrum are invited to participate.