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Gender on the EdgeTransgender, Gay, and Other Pacific Islanders$
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Niko Besnier and Kalissa Alexeyeff

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780824838829

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824838829.001.0001

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Living as and Living with Māhū and Raerae

Living as and Living with Māhū and Raerae

Geopolitics, Sex, and Gender in the Society Islands

Chapter:
(p.93) Chapter 5 Living as and Living with Māhū and Raerae
Source:
Gender on the Edge
Author(s):

Makiko Kuwahara

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824838829.003.0005

This chapter examines two transgender categories, māhū and raerae, and the ways in which they are deployed in Tahiti and Bora Bora. Māhū and raerae highlight the specific and divergent effects of the interactions of local engagements with global and neocolonial forms—in this particular case, tourism and the French military—on sexuality and gender. The “frictional relation between geopolitics and embodied desires” gives rise to global homogeneity as well as new forms of difference. This chapter compares the relationships of māhū and raerae to families, communities, and workplaces on Tahiti and Bora Bora in order to stress the complexity of gender and sexual identity formation. It also considers the role of globalization and neocolonial relations in the construction of the two categories and shows that gender and sexual identity intersect with national and island identity.

Keywords:   transgender, māhū, raerae, Tahiti, Bora Bora, sexuality, gender, geopolitics, sexual identity, gender identity

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