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Melenie Eleneke

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Melenie Eleneke Obituary
Melenie M. Eleneke

Melenie Mahinamalamalama Eleneke, transgender rights activist, hula dancer and devoted auntie and sister, died peacefully of natural causes in her sleep the morning of September 9, 2013 at her home in Daly City, California. She was 53.

"Auntie Mele" was born Christmas Day 1959 in Honolulu, Hawai'i, becoming the youngest of Jarett Kalani Eleneke and Alene Ku'ukama'aloha Parker Eleneke-Pa's five children, including sisters Char Thompson, Shalei Eleneke and brothers Wayne, Paul and Charles Eleneke.

One year prior to her 1977 graduation from Kailua High School in Honolulu, Melenie bravely transitioned to become the woman known and loved by a vast network of family, friends and colleagues. A lifelong spiritual healer and hula dancer who studied Social Justice at San Francisco State University, she never overlooked a hot daddy, a pink purse, or a chance to strap on her cha-cha heels and fight for justice.

Forever fun, fierce and fabulous, Melenie will be remembered for her trademark laugh, boundless affection and zealous passion for life. She left her mark on the world as a long serving community leader with the Transgender, Gender Variant & Intersex Justice Project in San Francisco, most notably for her trip to Geneva in February 2008 where she addressed the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, holding the United States accountable for its lack of economic opportunity for transgender women of color.

Melenie is preceded in death by her baby dogs Mikiala and Corie. In addition to her parents and siblings, she is survived by her sissie-la Patrice Evans, nephew Tamalani Auva'a, baby dogs Jimmy and Kukunaokala, and her devoted sisters, nieces and nephews from the House of Valenciaga.

A memorial service will be held at Duggan's Serra Mortuary in Daly City on September 19, 2013 at 6:30 pm. On September 21, Melenie's sister Shalei will escort her home to Hawai'i. Details for a celebration of life on the island of O'ahu will be shared when finalized by the family.


Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Sept. 15, 2013
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