Meet the LGBTQI Pacific Islanders overcoming a ‘colonial mindset’ and ‘narrative of shame’ to embrace their true selves


From an early age, Kalisito Biaukula stood out as the “loudest, wildest, craziest, most androgynous” child in what was a very traditional Fijian family. “I know growing up I know I was different. I believe that I was born trapped in the wrong body,” they said. The 25-year-old broadcaster and activist is vakasalewalewa, an iTaukei term that describes a third gender, or people assigned male at birth but who have a feminine gender expression. “I think in three generations of my family, none of them were queer or different. I was the only one,” they said. “It was also a derogatory term used to call out queer people as evil or wrong during colonisation, but I am reclaiming the name as a form of empowerment and resilience.”

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