Embracing and celebrating our Māhū past and present. Ka Wai Ola Link to Kapaemahu

Māhū is a problematic word. It’s been appropriated by people who don’t understand its meaning and used as a “hateful” attack against gays for a long time now. It’s not a word for non-Hawaiians to “claw back”. Doing that is kind of like Randall taking back a certain racist slur in Clerks 2.
Māhū doesn’t necessarily mean homosexual although that’s rolled into it. It’s also kind of a societal function, a place in the Hawaiian society that bridges male and female. A third gender state.
That all being said, we are only whole when we embrace the presence of namāhū in our culture and celebrate their presence in our myths, legends and society. For too long our culture was under attack and being erased to white-wash us out of existence. As we strengthen who we are, we must also remember to acknowledge and give love to all of our people.

2 thoughts on “Embracing and celebrating our Māhū past and present. Ka Wai Ola Link to Kapaemahu

  1. Alison

    Like isn’t enough. I don’t know a lot about other cultures, being 5th generation white Australian, but I love what I see. Diversity makes us stronger as a community. I label myself gender-queer, but that is a label I chose for myself that, as far as I know, is not infringing on another culture. I feel that respect, whether for other people or whole cultures, is important, and I personally don’t feel comfortable using a term from another culture in reference to myself because it is not my culture. It is sad when people take things they don’t really grasp and then run with them (I feel the fairy/little penguin thing is a perfect example, since they were called fairy penguins because they were small like fairies, which had nothing to do with LGBTQIA people). Thank you for your post to make it clear the issues that arise from using the word māhū. I think the glimpse into another culture, and the reminder that we need to respect cultures, not just people, is important.

    1. I really appreciate your POV and ah, fairy penguins are adorable 😀 As we all socially evolve and adjust, I think with the kind-hearted efforts everyone gives, we’ll be okay 😀

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