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Although fakaleitī in Tonga do not necessarily associate with LGBT identities in the Western world, those who grow up in Tongan migrant communities in New Zealand, Australia, and the United States may find a greater level of community and affinity to similar identities than fakaleitī in the island kingdom.
The term fakaleitī is made up of the prefix faka- (in the manner of) and the borrowing lady from English. Fakaleitīs themselves prefer to call themselves leitī or ladies. Fakaleitī or fakafefine are similar to Samoan fa'afafine and Hawaiian mahu.
The Tonga Leiti's Association organizes the Miss Galaxy Pageant in Tonga. They have also been involved in reforming colonially influenced laws about fakaleitī life that remain in Tonga. In 2018 a documentary film Leitis in Waiting was made about fakaleitī leader Joey Mataele and the efforts of the Tonga Leiti's Association. Mataele also works with the Pacific Equality Project, a non-profit group advocating for the decriminalization of LGBT peoples from post-colonial laws in the Pacific Islands.
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