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.
“I have a different perspective on how others see me, but the most that I love for anyone to consider me as, is mom. and i support all my children. Humanity in all its forms is beautiful.” — Tofaaga
Tofaaga Levi Salatielu-Unutoa was born and raised in Samoa, and she and her husband “are 100% Samoan, but we tell our children that, yes, they are Samoan, but Samoan Americans, born and raised in the United States. We donʻt want them to feel any different than the President of the United States, or so-and-so working at the City and County. Theyʻre all human beings.” Her son Misimatoka Tuamasaga Unutoa was born in Torrence, California. The family came to Hawaiʻi in 2004, and have lived in Kalihi, Ewa Beach and Kapolei. Misimatoka works at the LGBTQ+ Center at UH Mānoa and says that “among the LGBTQIA, heʻs with the Gs”. Mariana met with Tofaaga and Misimatoka at their home in Kapolei to talk about motherhood, coming out and Samoan cultureʻs respect for faʻafafine and faʻafatama people.
“The world has just caught up…We always embraced them (faʻafafine) as a culture. They have been around for generations. Why is the world so….mean about it? I never understood that.” — Tofaaga
“Mom sat me in the room and was like, ʻDo you want to tell me something?ʻ” — Misimatoka & Tofaaga
“I go to her more than my dad when we need to talk about stuff, like about personal stuff, like about life stuff. I think its just the, what do you call it, the son – mother kind of relationship.” — Misimatoka
“Whether you believe in god, or a higher being, whatever twinkling planets out there weʻre seeing and spirits flying around, whatever. To me, whoever gave him to me, itʻs a blessing. ” — Tofaaga