American Samoa: Where Important Things Live
Note: This story has been pulled back into our story workshop because we decided it could be better. We’re taking the time to review and rewrite it. We hope to have it back up soon. Visit the FIFTY Series Page to learn more about what we’re up to, or click the Browse button above to find more story suggestions.
Although Elei loves her family and wants to honor their wish that she become a nurse, she has other ambitions she’d like to follow. But when she meets the teacher of her first humanities class, Culture of Polynesia, she sees her own Samoan culture in a new light, embracing her experience of the “in between” — and ultimately finding opportunities for herself that she had thought would be just a dream.
Note for Parents: Elei is what the Samoan people call a “Fa’afafine” or third gender. This occurs predominantly when someone born with a male body identifies as neither traditionally male nor female, but sees themselves as “in between.” Though this is a common and accepted identity in Samoa and most of Polynesia, we recognize that parents may wish to introduce concepts of “third gender” or “transgender” independently.
Note: Though this is historical fiction and the characters have been developed to accommodate a story, their attributes and development may be useful as reference points and inspirations.