Tit Talks: Pacific peoples’ cultures: How queerness has shaped community and identity

August 26th 2022
Clockwise from L: Sereima Adimate aka Stelly G, Kilimi Aketi Foketi, Tommy Misa, Ben Parangi, Latai Taumoepeau
  • Tit Talks :: Conversations about queerness, community and Pacific culture
Tit Talks has treated us to a third instalment at The Bearded Tit. This panel discussed their Pacific peoples culture and identity, their queerness, and how those things interact. Curated and moderated by our very own Kilimi Aketi Foketi (host of Sunset with 2K), Tit Talks aims to interrogate issues around queerness, art and identity in each discussion – this was no exception.

As a part of this instalment, four special panelists joined Kilimi: Sydney/Eora based multidisciplinary performance artist Stelly G, writer, actor and performer Tommy Misa, artist, youth worker, community organiser and whale researcher Ben Parangi, and artist and community worker Latai Taumoepeau.

On how queer community and Pasifika identity intertwine, Latai had this to say:

“Some of the most invisible things about Pacific culture exist because queer communities and people enable them to exist in a more visible way than some of our other more established counterparts”

Latai and the other guests highlighted how embracing their queer identity allows them to also embrace their Pasifika identity. Their identities are embraced and flow into roles within their Pacific communities, whether it be in village or church.

Tommy Misa spoke to how this can differ depending on context. The way his queer identity fits within the community in Samoa may not be the same as within the Pasifika community in Australia.

“My Grandmother would have been the first person that recognised my queerness… her way of communicating that with me was guiding me with what my role was within village and community… everytime there was something happening it was my role to get up and Siva, to dance.”
“Here [Gadigal Country] I was in a mixed Island church. That wasn’t an easy experience because it was a very conservative church… and then In my adult life living on Gadigal land in central Sydney, for many years I didn’t feel like I was connected to Pasifika people and was trying to find my place.”

Throughout the talk, the panelists talked how they have utilised different artistic frameworks. They have embraced arts to create a connection with both their Pasifika and Queer communities.

You can listen back to the full Tit Talk up top!

 

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