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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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PRINTED FROM HAWAII SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hawaii.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hawaii University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HSO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

Living as and Living with Māhū and Raerae

Living as and Living with Māhū and Raerae

Geopolitics, Sex, and Gender in the Society Islands

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

Makiko Kuwahara

University of Hawai'i Press

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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