Translations:History of nonbinary gender/22/en

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  • Māhū ("in the middle") in Kanaka Maoli (Hawaiian) and Maohi (Tahitian) cultures are third gender persons with traditional spiritual and social roles within the culture. The māhū gender category existed in their cultures during pre-contact times, and still exists today.[1] In the pre-colonial history of Hawai'i, māhū were notable priests and healers, although much of this history was elided through the intervention of missionaries. The first written Western description of māhū occurs in 1789, in Captain William Bligh's logbook of the Bounty, which stopped in Tahiti where he was introduced to a member of a "class of people very common in Otaheitie called Mahoo... who although I was certain was a man, had great marks of effeminacy about him."[2]
  1. Kaua'i Iki, quoted by Andrew Matzner in 'Transgender, queens, mahu, whatever': An Oral History from Hawai'i. Intersections: Gender, History and Culture in the Asian Context Issue 6, August 2001
  2. William Bligh. Bounty Logbook. Thursday, January 15, 1789.