The tradition of fakaleitī originally stemmed from a family requiring another female to help out around the household. Often, if a woman had (what they considered to be) too few daughters and too many sons, they would raise one of the sons as a girl. The child would grow up assisting the mother with ‘’woman duties’’, such as cooking and helping out with the other children and the house. However, people may identify as fakaleitī without their parents' input.
Upon adulthood, they are expected to have a woman's job, and often take up roles such as chefs, decorators, and hairdressers.
Although fakaleitī do not necessarily always associate with LGBT+ identities in the Western world, those who grow up in Tongan migrant communities in New Zealand, Australia, and the United States may find a greater level of community and affinity to similar identities than fakaleitī in the island kingdom.
The flag was designed by Disneyfan1413 on September 15th, 2020. The crown and laurel wreath were taken from the Tonga coat of arms, while the base appears to be a desaturated version of the genderqueer flag.
The term fakaleitī is made up of the prefix faka- (in the manner of) and the borrowing lady from English. Fakaleitīs themselves prefer to call themselves leitī or ladies. Fakaleitī or fakafefine are similar to Samoan fa'afafine and Hawaiian māhū.