A VISUAL STORY TELLING PROJECT BY MARIANA MONASI FROM PACHAMAMA CREATIVE CELEBRATING MOTHERHOOD IN ALL ITS FORMS. A PROJECT OF THE HAWAIʻI LGBT LEGACY FOUNDATION, PRESENTED BY CENTRAL PACIFIC BANK.
“My main thing for all my kids is do whatever you want to do, as long as youʻre happy and as long as that person treats you right. I didnʻt want my kids to live in hiding, cuz thatʻs no way to live, or to be loved.” — Eileen
Chardonnay, who identifies as lesbian, is an award-winning singer who was a featured performer at the Hawaiʻi LGBT Legacy Foundationʻs Pride Pāʻina ʻOhana Lā family celebration in early February 2023. She met with Mariana at her grandmotherʻs home in Pearl City and was joined by her mother Eileen, who identifies as bisexual, and her grandmother Evelyn, who identifies as straight, but tells the story of her famous Elvis Presley impression that had all the girls swooning.
“I found it easier to relate to boys than girls. Iʻm not into girly things. It was easier for me to get buddies…I had guys who were good friends.I was a chubby kid, so I never had that feeling that it was anything else other than friendship. — Eileen
“I found out not too long ago, when I was little my aunty used to take me to the movies…and I would be singing; I knew all the songs. So thereʻs this little kid standing up in the theatre…singing her soul out. ʻMy goodness, aunty, I didnʻt know I did thatʻ. [But] I always loved singing.” — Evelyn
“I knew I was gay; I was attracted to women. I was in eighth grade [and] I made a friend Cassie, and she and I were watching “The L Word”. And I was like, ʻIʻm pretty sure Iʻm gay, and she was like ʻMe too!ʻ So we both came out to each other the first time. So that was really cool.” — Chardonnay
“Every time I think about my cousin, my heart aches, because he was such a nice man. He resorted to having sex with these strange people…and then they would beat the shit out of him after. When I used to hear stories like that, it broke my heart because, why does he have to do that, when if he was just allowed to be himself…” — Evelyn
“I remember Uncle Ed kind of saying ʻIf papa ever says anything, let me know, cuz I already had a talk with himʻ..and said, ʻYou better accept that girl because if you donʻt, weʻre gonna lose herʻ.” — Chardonnay