Kumu Hina

"Oregon Councilman Attacks Hawaii Filmmaker" ~ KITV 4 Island News

By Paul Drewes ~ October 25, 2017

An Oregon Councilman fires anti-gay slurs at a Hawaii film maker.

Then came an apology, but not by the man who took aim at the LGBT community.

The documentary film Kumu Hina shows the challenges and struggles of Hina Wong-Kalu, known as Kumu Hina, who is a Native Hawaiian transgender woman.

"Those who are in touch with our culture and history know to be mahu or transgender is part and parcel of our daily life," said Wong-Kalu.

Earlier this month on the film's promotional website, Oregon Councilman Lou Nakapalau expressed his displeasure over the upcoming movie. He stated he was "sick of the LGBTQ crowd shoving their hokeyed up agenda down my throat."

"This is a facebook page for a film that you wouldn't be seeing unless you were following it," said movie director Joe Wilson.

Wilson, who is gay, responded to the comment. Which prompted Nakapalau to add "when you croak of AIDS.... I'll spit on your grave."

Nakapalau's online comment was later deleted, and he declined to comment for this story to our mainland news partner. But as word of what happened spread, the social media story started making its way around the country.

"You really need to keep those things just to yourself," said Robert Harris, a fellow Echo Councilman who apologized on behalf of the city.

Nakapalau has not said or posted any apology, publicly or even privately to the Hawaii filmmaker.

"Surprisingly enough, Lou Nakapalau is a Hawaiian... long removed from Hawaii," said Wong-Kalu.

Now some in the small Oregon town feel the councilman should no longer be in office.

"I'd like to see Mr. Nakapalau resign," said Echo business owner Pamela Reese.

Even though Wilson was personally attacked, what concerned him the most was that someone in a position of power would lash out at any single individual or group.

Kumu Hina has seen an abundance of support since her story came out, but she also knows there remain some negativity directed at the LGBT community,.

"We have a long way to go in terms of understanding and acceptance," added Wong-Kalu.

Not only on the mainland, but also in Hawaii.

"There will always be people with negative feelings. There is certainly still homophobia. There is racism and people who don't like a different group of people," said Joe Bock, the Vice Chair of the LGBT Legacy Foundation.

But Bock countered, as demonstrated by the largest Honolulu Pride events over the past week, there is also overwhelming support by the people of Hawaii, along with island businesses and organizations for the LGBT community.

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