Photo credit: PBS
Photo credit: PBS Kumu Hina premieres on PBS on Monday, May 4 at 10 p.m. EST (9 PM CST).
HUFFINGTON POST | San Diego Gay & Lesbian News | April 28, 2015
In traditional, Western culture, gender identity is often considered a binary concept: You are either male or you are female.
This restrictive and defining construct makes it difficult for our society to understand people like Bruce Jenner, who recently came out as transgender, because they don’t always fit neatly into a box. While some transgender people move from one end of the gender spectrum to the other when they transition, other transgender people exist somewhere in between, embracing both genders, neither genders or a multiplicity of genders.
Ultimately, by changing and broadening our definition of gender identity, we can not only better understand it, we can truly embrace it. In Native Hawaiian culture, for instance, the idea of someone who embodies both the male and female spirit is a familiar and even revered concept. Gender identity is considered fluid and amorphous, allowing room for māhū, who would fall under the transgender umbrella in Western society.