A series of intimate and inspiring stories told by real queer Pacific Islanders. Oh, how far we’ve come.
A year ago, I decided that I would launch this blog starting with my own story since it was the only one I could genuinely tell as it was mine to share. I talked about my experience as a young, gay Pacific Islander not being able to come out to my parents until I was twenty-three years old. After sharing my story, many other LGBTQ Pacific Islanders connected with me and began to share pieces of their story as well and some even inspired to open up to their family about their own sexuality. Even family members of queer Pacific Islanders reached out to me personally because their brother, sister, or close relative might have gone through the similar anxieties and fears I did when trying to navigate their sexuality with their family. It was a very moving thing to know how much my story resonated with others and it inspired me to not only continue building new relationships and connections with LGBTQ Pacific Islanders but also build a deeper connections with friends and family I already knew who identified as LGBTQ.
This next chapter of my website is dedicated to sharing different stories within the LGBTQ Pacific Islander community. I want this project to serve as an opportunity for queer Pacific Islanders to control their own narratives by telling real and genuine stories. A lot of times, we get lumped into certain boxes from not just society in general but even from our own heterosexual family members whose intentions are loving but often very wrong. This often times hurts us because we love them so much. So this is an opportunity for them to learn.
A lot of the participants that will be part of this project come from different walks of life and live in different parts of the world. Yet, all of us are deeply connected to our culture and traditions that our parents raised us to honor and uphold no matter what we do in life. I think there’s a very important influence sweeping across the globe right now where people are finally challenging themselves to think deeper and evolve from old ways of thinking. We see what is going on with our black brothers and sisters and it hurts for those that have learned the truth of this country’s racist foundations through either higher education, second-hand experience, or just by having enough empathy to try and learn about why Black Lives Matter not only in the United States, but in this world.
Why am I bringing this up?
This is such an important time to start challenging and evolving within our own families. I see these participants who will share their stories as pioneers for our people to evolve in the dialogue surrounding LGBTQ Pacific Islanders. I think it’s time that we start to highlight our lives as queer Pacific Islanders who cannot be boxed into being one thing and be mocked for it from people that we go to church with or have koga’i (feasts) with at family functions. There is so much more to us than just our sexual orientation, our gender, our bodies, and our queerness. There is beautiful history about the Fa’afafine (hermaphrodite) in Samoa. The trans woman is not trans but just a woman. There are more progressive perspectives on queer lives from faith-based organizations. There is always more to our LGBTQ Pacific Islander community that is worth learning about. Right here. Right now. This is where we start to use our voices.
First story planned to be released in August.