The Meaning of Mahu

The Meaning of Mahu

Learn about the ancient Hawaiian tradition of māhū, those who embody both male and female spirit, in this animated segment from A PLACE IN THE MIDDLE. Early Hawaiians valued and respected māhū as healers, caretakers, and teachers of ancient tradition. When Christian missionaries arrived in the 1800s, they failed to comprehend the spiritual and cultural significance of māhū and did everything they could to abolish them. But despite 200 years of colonization and repression, Hawaiians have retained their respect for gender diversity, and people “in the middle” continue to play an important and visible role in modern Hawaiian society.

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