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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 8, 2015 - Volume 43 Issue 19
Seattle City Library teams up with Pride ASIA and others for Transgender visibility
Section One
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Seattle City Library teams up with Pride ASIA and others for Transgender visibility

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

On Sunday, May 3, nearly 100 people filed into the auditorium at the Central Branch of the Seattle Public Library to watch a documentary film KUMU HINA, presented by Pride ASIA, Seattle U.T.O.P.I.A. (United Territories of Pacific Islanders Alliance), in collaboration with Three Dollar Bill Cinema (Seattle Lesbian & Gay Film Festival & TRANSLATIONS), Gender Justice League and Seattle Public Library, for an afternoon of entertainment, culture competency, and Transgender visibility - free of charge. And the outcome from the event has been quite amazing.

I think it is important to note that we live in a city where a film like KUMU HINA is supported by the public library.

KUMU HINA is a powerful film by Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson about the struggle to maintain Pacific Islander culture and values within the Westernized society of modern day Hawai?i. It is told through the lens of an extraordinary Native Hawaiian who is both a proud and confident mahu, or Transgender woman, and an honored and respected kumu, or teacher, cultural practitioner, and community leader.

Imagine a world where a little boy can grow up to be the woman of his dreams, and a young girl can rise to become a leader among men. Welcome to Kumu Hina's Hawai'i.

During a momentous year in her life in modern Honolulu, Hina Wong-Kalu, a native Hawaiian mahu teacher uses traditional culture to inspire a student to claim her place as leader of the school's all-male hula troupe. But despite her success as a teacher, Hina longs for love and a committed relationship. Will her marriage to a headstrong Tongan man fulfill her dreams? An incredible docu-drama that unfolds like a narrative film, KUMU HINA reveals a side of Hawai'i rarely seen on screen.

The film was highly educational, but what was perhaps even more of a take away for the audience in attendance, was the knowledge shared by panelists representing Pride ASIA, Gender Justice League, and U.T.O.P.I.A. Seattle. Panelists answered any number of questions from audience members and the conversation was moderated by Ro Yoon, a well-known LGBTQ A/PI advocate and HIV/AIDS prevention specialist.

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