A Story of the Transgender in Traditional Hawaiian Culture


COMMUNITY: Very rarely do we find stories that provide insight into the roles of non-binary people in traditional societies. The mahu, are "third gender" individuals who fulfill spiritual and social roles in traditional Hawaiian culture. Kapaemahu is a telling of the story of a group of mahu who came to Hawaii in the 1500s, bringing with them four sacred stones. From Animation World Network:


"The eight-minute 2D animated short takes place in the 15th Century, as four tall, deep-voiced, gentle Mahu - individuals who are a mixture of both male and female in mind, body, and spirit -sail from Tahiti to Hawaii and introduce their gifts of science and healing to the inhabitants of Waikiki. The Mahu are in-turn gifted by the islanders with a monument of four boulders in their honor. After transferring their powers into the stones, the Mahu disappear. As time passes, foreigners inhabit the island and wars rage; the once sacred and revered stones, and their story, are forgotten and buried under a bowling alley in 1941. Though the stones are recovered in the 1960s and placed back as a monument on Waikiki 37 years later, their true story was not fully recovered. But the power of the Mahu still calls out to those who pass by and are willing to listen." Click to find out more about the film and view it.