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Queer Identities have always been a vital and celebrated part of Indigenous Pasifika cultures. In old Samoa, the third genders of Fa’afafine & Fa’afatama were revered and an integral part of the landscape of Samoan society. A family who held Fa’afafine and Fa’afatama were seen to be “a family who were blessed twice over”, as you had family members who were able to fluidly move between gender roles and expectations within the family and the village. They were honoured. They were respected. They were loved.

Fa'afafine and Fa’afatama are gender terms specific to the Samoan Archipelago, but they are not gender roles unique to just Samoa. Throughout the Pacific gender identities such as Fakaleiti (Tonga), Takatapui (Aotearoa) and Mahu (Hawaii & Tahiti) to name a few, were integral parts of daily, spiritual and cultural life in their parts of our great ocean. Of course, much of this changed with the arrival of Europeans and Christianity, as it did with Indigenous cultures the Pacific and the world over. And with the continued effects of colonisation and the reclamation of our Ancestral knowledges/ways of being within Pasifika diasporas around the world, a gradual shift back to our own traditional understandings of ourselves has seen a resurgence.

Interview with Tommy Misa

Tommy Misa is a Samoan/Australian Fa’afafine person who grew up in Canberra and Samoa. They are a writer, actor and performer and have trained as an actor with NIDA, The Hub Studio, ATYP and The Atlantic Theatre Company (NYC). Tommy is passionate about creating access for young Queer and Pasifika in the arts industry and shares his thoughts and experiences about being Queer and Pasifika in the here and now.

Part 1

How do Pasifika Queer people in Australia reconcile these two worlds in the present?

In an ocean of Queer Pasifika voices throughout Australia, Tommy is an integral Queer voice in assisting to find the balance in this conversation.

Part 2