Gay Dictionary Tongan
How to say gay in Tongan
Below are the words of our Tongan Gay Dictionary that we will expand in new editions. If you know any more, please, contact us. But first, some information about the language and where it is spoken.
Tongan is a language belonging to the Austronesian family and, it is the official language of the Kingdom of Tonga, formed by 177 islands, with about 100,000 speakers.
The situation of the LGBT community in Tonga is quite peculiar and, ultimately, perverse. Anal intercourse, called “crime of sodomy” (together with that of animal bestiality) is prohibited and punished with a penalty of up to 10 years, although in practice it is not usually pursued consensual sexual relations. For the Tongan penal code, there are no lesbians, so lesbian relationships are de facto allowed, although this does not help their visibility.
As for the situation of transgender women (of transgender men we have found nothing), without being good, enjoy a curious social integration due to the traditional Tongan culture, embodied in Fakaleitis. Despite the teasing and rejection, every year, with the sponsorship of local government and businesses, the fakaleitis contest, the Miss Galaxy Pageant, is held.
The Tongan word fakaleiti is the name given to people we would name in the West as transgender women, but having some cultural characteristics, frequent in various places of the Pacific, which make of the fakaleitis one phenomenon.
This expression is composed of “faka” that we could translate as “in the manner of”, and “leiti”, which is an adaptation of the English word “lady”, so, the literal translation would be “in the manner of a woman.” However, these women prefer to call themselves leitis. Although today the Kingdom of Tonga is an independent country, in 1900, it became a protectorate of the United Kingdom, which proposes a time frame for the emergence of the term.
The fakaleiti phenomenon is similar to what happens in Hawaii with the traditional Māhū, who played an important role in the culture until the arrival of Christianity, the moment when social rejection began. However, in the case of Tonga, this has not prevented the fakaleitis from enjoying a certain social integration even fostered by the royal family.
Every year the fakaleitis contest, the Miss Galaxy Pageant, is held with the sponsorship of the government and local businesses, although we have not seen boyfriends or couples of fakaleitis, probably due to social pressure and especially to the laws.
Variations: Leiti, Fakafefine, Lady.